Thursday, February 14, 2013

LADDER: Using Data to Impact Instruction

I admit it; I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to numbers and graphs.  So the first time I heard the term “data literacy” my ears perked up.  I thought to myself, “I would love to become data literate!” As a teacher I struggled with ways to assess my students fairly.  I wanted to give them the opportunity to show me what they knew in ways that were appropriate for their level of English proficiency.  Now as a teacher trainer I am often asked about best practices in assessing ELLs.  I have witnessed a growing desire among educators to find ways to effectively use their student data.  As educators we need to continually ask ourselves:
  • What does this assessment measure?
  • What am I going to do with the information I receive from it? 
When I mention these two key questions in a workshop, educators often confess that they don’t quite know what to do with their ACCESS for ELLs data. They know that it assesses English language proficiency across the five ELD standards.  They also know what their state education agency has determined as entry and exit scores based on ACCESS. Some educators are even aware of the various scores available (for more on score reports, click here).   At the district level, teachers realize that programmatic decisions are often made using student data.  But how can we effectively use ACCESS for ELLs data to inform our instructional practices?