Schools all over the state (and country) are communicating data to stakeholders through the use of data walls. Businesses have been doing this for decades. This article reviews some of the considerations when using data in various school settings, based on some of the observations I have made in schools over the past several years, as well as teacher feedback.
Personal Data Walls:
Teachers have re-discovered the importance and impact of sharing a student's progress with the student, and inviting that student into the data-driven decision-making process. Special educators have had students track their progress (fluency graphs, sight word checklists, DRA levels, etc.) for years. More and more, classroom teachers are having students do the same in the general ed classroom, and are seeing the impace on even the youngest learners.
First-grade teachers at O'Brien STEM Elementary School in East Hartford use file folders as personal data walls for their students. Students graph their writing scores five times a year and post the graph on the left side of the folder, as well as keep track of their mastery of their first grade sight words in a graph on the right side of the folder. Photocopies of the graphs are sent home periodically to communicate with parents, and the students use their folders during conferences. The folder format creates a handy way to send scores and student work to the receiving second grade teacher at the end of the year.
Classroom Data Displays
In a previous post ("Getting Data Teams Up and Running, 2011"), I shared one of the best classroom data displays that I've seen, where the second grade team at Mayberry Elementary School in East Hartford created a "walking data wall" to show student progress in the DRA2. Teachers at O'Brien found that placing their student reading group table near the display helped keep students focused on their goals. They also met with parents at this table, so that parents could see where their children fell in relation to their peers, in their reading progress.
Public Data Displays
When it comes to displaying data outside the classroom, teachers and schools have to make some decisions:
Recently, I met with teams of teachers at O'Brien STEM Elementary School, in East Hartford, where we discussed how to make hall displays parent friendly. Here are some suggestions for sharing data with the community:
The photo at left shows one school's approach to making hallway data displays parent-friendly. Click the photo to see their description of the display.
School Data Displays
I was at E. C. Goodwin Technical High School last week, and got a chance to take a good look at the data display they had in their main office conference room, before the school data team meeting convened. Here were the components of the display, simply tacked to the bulletin board):
The display clearly showed the alignment between district, school and departmental goals, as linked by their four guiding questions (as shown below). On a montly basis, the team gathered for brief reports, by department, then discussed school-wide strategies to address themes that emerged across disciplines. For example, their most recent debrief revealed a student learning issue around making meaning from text that was technical in nature: assignement directions, math word problems, scientific procedures, technical manual specs, etc. They then discussed the adoption of a school wide strategy for paraphrasing technical texts (going from part to whole), as well as a school-wide strategy for analyzing problems and procedures (whole to part).
For more examples of public data displays, see my Pinterest board on School Data Walls. The examples show different formats that schools have chosen to present data. Choose the format that best suits the purpose and culture of your team and school. I will continue to add to the board as I see examples to share, so check back often.
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