View this email in your browser
Welcome to my practical data use email for K–12 educators. Every two weeks I send a data activity that you can use today. I'll be including ideas like these in my new book The K–12 Educator's Data Guidebook: Reimagining Practical Data Use in Schools, which comes out later this year. If this activity helps you, consider sharing it with a friend: 
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Share Share
Forward Forward

How to Convert Your Notes to Simple and Useable Data

Notes don't need to stay in your notebooks. You can turn them to useable data. In this activity, you’ll learn how to take your notes, work samples, and observations and turn them into a table for analysis.

Need to see an example? Jump to Examples for Use below. 

How This Can Help You

Educators get information from meetings, conferences, and observations. Sometimes, notes from these events are good enough for making the decisions you face every day. 

But since our notes are usually about one student, they limit how well we can see the big picture. When time allows, we can organize the data in a table and see more at once. Then we can zoom out a level, and plan for more students. 

Follow These Steps

  1. Find a source of data you want to organize. Some examples include notes from classroom observation, notes from student conferences about project work, or exit slips with open ended prompts.
  2. Identify the decision you need to make. Some examples include, “Do I reteach for the whole class or in a small group?” or “How should I assign students to groups tomorrow?”
  3. Identify at least one criteria that helps you make this decision. Phrase the criteria as a question. Some examples are “Did the student summarize the reading passage?” or “Did the student use logical points to support their claim in their writing?”
  4. Make a table where the first column is the name of the student and the next columns are the criteria from step 3. I’ll include an example below.
  5. Write a “1” in the cell next to the student and below the criteria if the student met the criteria and a “0” if they didn’t. These are not grades and should not be shown to the student. 

Examples for Use

Once you have data for all your students, you can interpret it for decision making. Here are examples: 

You can use the table to plan your instruction. Let's say you want to pick between reteaching a small group or the whole class. Total up each column and divide by the number of rows. That gives you the percent of students that met each criteria. If that number is above a predetermined threshold, you may choose to reteach in a small group. If that number is below the threshold, you may choose to reteach the whole class. 

You can also use the table to group students. For example, you may want groups of four students, where each group has two students that met the criteria and two students who did not. This table helps you visually identify which students go in which group. 
Example: This example shows the percent of students who summarized the reading passage and the percent of students who used logical points to support a claim. Your chart will have a full class, but I show four students to make the example simpler.

Here's how you can describe what's happening to someone else: "Tomorrow I'm reteaching how to use logical points to support claims to the whole class. Based on my notes from student check-ins, half of the class got the idea and the other half didn't."

Suggestion About the Number 0

Some data analyses are best kept for internal use. This is one of those. I use "1s" and "0s" here for their mathematical and visual properties—they're useful for calculating percentages and also visually identifying rows. But I'd avoid sharing with others because, without context, the number "0" can result in some negative feelings.
A couple more things before we close up: I've got a podcast with my colleague Joshua Rosenberg called About Practice. We talk about challenges and solutions for using research in everyday education jobs. It's super fun and you can subscribe on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

And last, I wrote a book with some awesome people about using data science tools in the education field called Data Science in Education Using R. You can read it for free here and buy your print copy here.

That's all for now! More in a couple weeks!

Follow me on social media:
Copyright © 2021, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp