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Joining forces with colleagues to share and interpret assessment results is a great way to enhance understanding of our students’ learning needs. Participating in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) is one effective way that we can facilitate this kind of collaboration.

Professional Learning Communities

PLCs take many different forms, all of which offer a designated space for meaningful discussion about assessment information and other student learning data. Examples of the most common types of PLCs include:

  • Teacher Learning Communities
    Groups of teachers regularly collaborate to continuously improve their instructional practice, and, ultimately, to improve student learning.
  • Whole-Faculty Study Groups
    All teachers at a school participate in separate small study groups (3-5 teachers), each focusing on specific student learning needs.
  • Grade Level Teams
    All teachers at a specific grade level work together to evaluate student learning needs and develop effective responses for all students at that grade level.

Using Data Walls in the Classroom

Creating a data wall can be a powerful way to activate the genius that lives in your colleagues.

Data walls—like the name implies—are displays of student data, and they make possible collaborative analysis of trends in individual and group learning. By putting information on the wall, you can quickly identify both the narrow and broader trends in student learning, and discuss teaching strategies that could work in response to those trends.

Effective data walls display:

  • Student Identifiers (name, initials, or identification number)
  • Coded Post-it notes or other markers that identify student grade levels or classes
  • Subject area
  • Assessment data from the selected instrument, such as a student’s MAP RIT score, from three interim assessment administrations (Fall, Winter, Spring)
  • Any special coding for individual students, such as IEP or Title I