Helping Students Use Their Own Assessment Data for Growth

Oct 26, 2023
Assessment data Edmentum article

Today’s students are digital natives. So why do we believe we have to filter and disseminate their assessment data for them?

Even the youngest students understand the concepts of growth, goals and how data can tease out the truth about both. Giving students ownership of their own assessment data study practices is a proven way to foster engagement in the learning process and establish greater trust throughout the school.

Here are ways to implement a data study program that can help any student grow.

Establish a Schedule

Data scientists rarely take the periodic approach to studies. Instead, they see data as a living, evolving thing that yields much more insight (and actionable moves) if you follow its ongoing processes. The same is true for education assessment data.

Get students into the habit of regularly looking at their data and monitoring their growth. A monthly cadence is helpful, but weekly is possible and preferable in most classes. Only at such regular intervals can students take actionable measures to change their outcomes.

Look for Student-Friendly Assessment data

Disseminate data with your students that they can easily unpack according to their understanding.

Few students can tackle percentiles, and even fewer understand scale scores, but every student comprehends strengths and weaknesses. You are looking for data that act as individual progress indicators, not comparisons to each other.

Also, make sure they can easily tie the data to the lessons that have occurred in the classroom. That connection is critical for a student to understand their strengths and shortcomings.

Tie Assessment Data to Standards and Goals

Goal setting has become a major part of teaching and learning. This makes sense because goal setting is an important key to success on the trials students are bound to encounter in life outside the classroom. We must show students how to set goals; make, stick to, and evaluate plans to meet those goals; determine definite timeframes for their goals; and make adjustments as necessary until they reach their goals.

Student assessment data corresponds to the standards you are addressing in class, so always unpack those standards for students in kid-friendly language that can easily serve as a goal for every student.

Show students what successful work and assessments look like regarding the standard throughout the lesson.

Teach Students How to Find Their Own Assessment Data

Students become more invested in the data study process if they don’t have to wait for you to provide it to them.

Show them how to access their data and manipulate it to fit their needs. Most schools now have access to online gradebooks, but even the practice of students tracking their own grades by hand in a portfolio can be valuable.

If and when you decide to share assessment data, it’s important to keep it private between you and each particular student. Not all students want everyone to know how they did—and this is true for both high and low performers. It’s also essential to focus on offering positive feedback, even for students who are struggling. Encourage them to take this opportunity to understand where they are at academically right now in order to help them get to where they want to be later.

Show Students How to Move Forward

Any assessment data study you engage in with students should also include what students can do to improve their learning processes. Ask students what their interpretations of the data are and how they can use it to improve. With consistent use, students will guide themselves through a comprehensive study.

Understanding the various assessment types and the assessment data they produce is beneficial for your instructional decision-making all year long. Download our Assessment for Learning workbook to reflect on your current program and gain a new understanding of assessment best practices!

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