“Well, that meeting could have been an email”
We’ve all thought this at some point, right? On a tight teacher’s schedule, it is such a frustrating feeling when your time isn’t fully leveraged.
When we talk about data meetings, it’s likely that some teachers are remembering this feeling. To be honest, I’ve sat on the other end of horribly ineffective data meetings. Being asked to categorize my students into red / yellow / green based on multiple choice questions was frankly dehumanizing, and I didn’t walk away with anything I could use the next day.
In 2017, my team at Uncommon Schools shifted away from lengthy quarterly interim assessment analysis and towards weekly data meetings that focused on real, daily student work samples. I was asked to bring student work from that day, and together we would sort it and determine next steps to increase the work quality. Within 30 minutes, my team walked away with a plan for how to close the gap the next day. This created a daily urgency around student outcomes - we never waited until it was too late.
This was the first time data meetings felt worthy of my time and enthusiasm. I started to honor the time in these weekly meetings, and my curricular knowledge gradually strengthened. I built fluency in diagnosing student work that I could apply to giving feedback during class, live in-the-moment.
The weekly data meeting time was where my teacher team aligned as well. We were able to take standards and norm on what exemplar work would be, script break-it-downs to get students there, and determine strategies and plans for students falling behind. As the more veteran teammate, I was able to guide my team to increase their confidence at addressing misconceptions. This sacred meeting time was powerful for creating a shared vision of rigor amongst our grade team.
Over three years, my students’ test scores continued to improve -- at the same time that I was spending less time looking at test scores! Looking at authentic student work built my skill in addressing gaps, giving better feedback on writing, and communicating with my co-teacher. With the support of an incredible coach (shout out Christine Menard!), I was able to shift from participating in the meetings, to running them.
Truly transformational data analysis requires way more than a cursory interim assessment review of scores. It requires leadership from an experienced instructional coach with dedicated time to prepare for the meeting, and a culture of urgency to construct a plan and enact supports before it is too late.
In this case study, I’ll share an example of how I run a data meeting using EdLight’s platform. If you’re interested in EdLight coaching your team’s data meetings, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can share more details!