What is Data-Driven Instruction and Why Does it Matter?
One of the biggest complaints from parents and students in a traditional public education setting is that kids are expected to meet standards based on test scores, and the result is an educational method that leaves some children behind. You may have even heard the comparison of too rigid an instruction method is like trying to measure how well a fish could ride a bicycle. With this in mind, many parents are looking for a more personalized, data-driven instructional method based on the actual needs of the students.
Data-driven does not mean just basing things on test scores. In this article, instructors from the best private school in Clearwater, FL with Lakeside Christian School dive into what data-driven instruction means and how it can change your child’s experience and prepare them for college and beyond.
Data-Driven vs. Test Score Driven
Data-driven instruction is achieved by using information gathered while learning to determine what should be taught next. In the classroom, this data usually comes from formative and summative information and is assessed by the individual educators, rather than by the school board or administration who may not know your child well (or at all in a public school setting).
Formative data is information gathered by the teacher as instruction and learning are occurring. For example, paying attention to how the class does on a particular topic or individual lesson plan. Summative data is gathered at the end of a specified learning period — this can be either the end of a unit or a specific amount of time. Using both of these forms of data, teachers can evaluate if the class or individual is ready to move on to the next topic or if they would benefit from a different type of learning.
If you are thinking that test scores are part of the data that creates data-driven instruction, you are not wrong. However, there are a few major differences:
- Test-score led instruction requires that students fit into the rigid framework to pass, not necessarily learn.
- Test scores can make students who test poorly seem as if they are behind, even if they fully grasp the concepts.
- Whether or not students pass, the core curriculum stays the same in a test-driven model.
You can see that with data-driven instruction, the students are evaluated on a more individual basis, in the classroom with the instructors they see every day. Test-score led instruction usually will involve a high number of failures in order for the school board or even higher up the ladder, the state or federal government, to evaluate and decide if the curriculum should be changed. This can take years to make any real change, leaving teachers, students, and parents increasingly frustrated as the expectations stay the same year-in and year-out.
How Data-Driven Instruction Impacts Lessons
Now that we understand what data-driven is, it is important to touch on the how in regard to the impact on lesson plans.
As we mentioned above, data-driven instruction means your child receives a tailored educational plan that will work to either eliminate academic gaps, or propel them forward if they are already on track. Without assessment (and there are multiple kinds of assessment), it’s impossible to determine if a student is on track or not, and if this can’t be determined, students fall through the cracks and essential skills may be lost.
When this data is analyzed, teachers will be able to immediately see if their teaching is effective for each student. Based on the data collected, they may decide to change the lessons by creating smaller groups concentrated on the skills with which students are struggling, or change teaching methods entirely. This means the teachers aren’t teaching content to students. They are teaching students essential content. They might choose to change the delivery of the content until they find the right fit for each individual student.
Data-driven also changes lessons because it doesn’t matter what size the classroom is. Each student receives the education they need in order to close academic gaps and get on track for college preparedness.
This sounds like something you might see in the younger grades more than older, but it is important in high school as well. Finding the right private high school in Clearwater, FL that offers data-driven instruction can help your middle or high-schooler as well.
Do Public Schools Offer Data-Driven Instruction?
Public schools have many great qualities, but the fact is, they may not have the time or resources to provide data-driven instruction. Finding a Clearwater private school may give your child a more focused experience with personalized attention. It is important to note, not every private school offers data-led or data-driven instruction, and the concept is still growing in popularity. But the right school for your family should meet your educational goals, data-led or otherwise. This will give your child the upper hand when it is time to apply for college and will ensure that no child is left behind.
Lakeside Christian School has been practicing data-driven instruction in K-5 for several years and has noticed a marked improvement in scores. Academic gaps are closing and off-track students are quickly catching up.
Lakeside Christian School is among the best private schools in Clearwater FL, and uses a tailored approach to your child’s education. If you’re interested in learning more about how we challenge all of our students to achieve their academic and personal goals, give us a call.
If you would like to learn more about Lakeside Christian School, one of best private schools in Clearwater, FL, please give us a call at (727) 239-7808 or schedule a tour of our campus.