It can be tricky to manage data from many different sources—let alone make meaning of it. To simplify the process, here are three key principles that guide good data management practices:
- Make Data Easy to Access and Use
Using one or more of the many data management programs that are available can be a great way to collect and organize various types of learning and assessment data to be readily available when needed. By consistently entering new data into our management systems, we can ensure that we have the most recent information ready at our fingertips when we need to make educational decisions about classroom assessments.
- Present Data Simply and Clearly
It is important for teachers to make sure that the student data we collect is easy to understand and use. Raw data can be difficult to make meaning out of, but by taking the time to develop simple and accurate representations of key data—in the form of charts, graphs and tables—we can more easily understand the meaning of the data we have. Data walls – displays of student data that facilitate collaboration – are also a great way to organize data from multiple sources, compare those data to identify learning trends and define teaching strategies.
- Discuss Data with Colleagues
Genuine conversations about student data can help teachers benefit from the collective knowledge and experience of our colleagues. Asking other teachers about the strategies and tools they use to collect, organize and interpret data can help you to identify new ways to manage data that might work for you.