Visible Learning

Are you challenged with moving the needle on student achievement? If we aspire to real growth, data-driven instruction will need to be more than a catch phrase.

Schools currently use quarterly benchmarks and outcomes from the annual state assessment to evaluate overall school health and achievement. The challenges with these current data sources lie in their lack of objective or concept-level data. While the state and District are able to glean a general view of District-wide and school-wide achievement,  little to no information is provided to influence the pedagogy of the classroom practitioners.

Your State Assessments, for example, might show that only 40% of 5th graders can demonstrate proficiency in Math. Your Quarterly Benchmark assessment then might show that only 38% of those 5th graders can demonstrate proficiency with standard 5.2(C). It assumes that everyone knows what standard 5.2(C) (or the code in your state) is, and provides no information as to how or what to target as areas in need of improvement. 

That brings us to the “reteach”. Reteaching is the primary response to the conjecture established by the limited test data. In the absence of specific deficiencies, teachers go back to square one and speed-teach the content again. This is ineffective as it likely repeats the instruction that left learning gaps, the first time, and absorbs instructional time earmarked for subsequent lessons. In some states, grade-level standards can have up to 210 lesson objectives to teach in 180 school days. So in truth, the concept of “reteach” is a fallacy.   

But what if the teacher had data that indicated which part of the new concept is the obstacle for a student? What if the data indicated, for example that when dividing fractions, four students could rewrite the equation, change the sign to multiplication, but forget to flip the divisor to its inverse? The teacher could  intervene on the spot, avoiding a learning gap and prevent the four students from repeatedly practicing a misconception.  

The Mastery Tracker App provides teachers with a definitive view of the specific skills or concepts that are learning targets for each of the state standards. The data provided might for example, show that Javier, Kim and Lina mistakenly “round down” when the neighboring number is less than 5,  for standard 5.2(C) (or the code in your state). This would provide the teacher with a definitive target for real-time intervention, before moving to the next step in the lesson, and before a learning gap can form.  

With the Mastery Tracker App, data-driven instruction is far more than a catch phrase. This tool provides definitive evidence of the progress toward mastery and the efficacy of the teaching. It moves teaching and learning from covering content to visible learning.

Spread the Teacher Love!
About Jackie Hardiesty

Jackie is a teaching and learning consultant and founder of Edify Consulting. She is a former Director of STEM Integration, Principal and former teacher.