Data Analysis

I teach high school and was sent to a meeting at the middle school this afternoon. All I knew was it was about data, my head teacher couldn’t attend and she wanted to send a level headed representative (me!). While it was an honor to be chosen, I expected it to be one of those “no good deed goes unpunished” situations where I have to do extra work since I happen to be good at my job. Lo and behold, it was actually an interesting meeting! They started with specific accomplishments each grade made, with the data to back up their claim. Then each team chose one question to work on for twenty minutes. That wasn’t a typo, they did item analysis on a single question. There was no “which kids do we need to target?” or “which teacher taught this best?” They spent time discussing exactly what the big idea, details, misconceptions and building blocks were for that one item. Next meeting will include action plans that may address the questions I just mentioned, but for today they really delved deep into deconstructing what students did. The facilitator acknowledged this, saying “this is hard work you’re doing, I know I’m pushing you.” I’m excited to share this with my department and hope the administrators present recognized the same thing I did. I was frustrated at my midterm analysis meeting since I didn’t write the test, and I didn’t grade the test (scantron did), so I don’t feel like I have a good sense of how anyone did on the exam. We need time to really examine what the student thinking was rather than making lists upon lists of standards and names. It will be a really great day when administration gets that and gives us the time.

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