November 10th, 2016 by Maria Eby
I have recently completed professional development I selected when I created my remote learning plan. I participated in a data-centered training called Seize the Data. This was different for me than other professional developments of which I have been a part in that I was given the opportunity to self-select the PD that best suited my needs. In my experience, there has been little to no PD on data, which is unfortunate, considering data is key to planning, evaluating if our kids are learning and what is working and what is not. This course delved deeply into the intricacies of data driven assessment and aligning the assessment to the standards we are evaluating. The importance of demographic and socio/emotional data and how we can collect and analyze this valuable data. This course has changed how I approach assessments of all types.
When creating an assessment I consider the desired outcome I am addressing and write questions to elicit answers that directly link to the standard’s intent. This provides me with very specific information about my students’ learning and has led to markedly improved success in many of my students. Through very targeted small group instruction I am able to quickly remediate based upon the data I obtain from these assessments.
Since taking this course, I have also administered a classroom climate survey, which provided valuable information about my students’ perception and feelings of success in my classroom. I was able to conference with the students regarding their responses and had some of the most productive and authentic conversations I have ever had with my students. There is so much we will never know if we do not seek to understand,but we must be sure we are using the most effective tools. By seeking to understand, I was able to see things through their eyes, and together we made decisions about our classroom and their learning while considering this feedback and all students’ opinions.
I have never implemented anything from any other professional development as I have from this one. I believe it is because I was able to self-select this PD. I know more than anyone what I need as a teacher. I now share this newfound information with many of our staff members, as well as my grade level PLT as we continue to work to collect valuable, accurate data with which to plan our instruction and evaluate our students’ learning.