Teacher voices: Marisol on using data in the classroom

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As a part of our teacher voices video series, Marisol Castillo speaks about the importance of using data for daily feedback on student progress. Marisol is a high school English teacher with nine years experience in the classroom.

As Marisol notes, classrooms today are awash in student data. Beyond standardized tests, teachers use daily measures to check in on their students' progress, keep students and parents informed, adjust instructional approaches, and ultimately, help each of their students progress. Fortunately, these complex data analysis and application skills are ones that can be practiced before an aspiring teacher takes on his or her own classroom.

NCTQ's Teacher Prep Review found that the vast majority (84%) of the 658 programs evaluated on the assessment and data standard require that teacher candidates prepare and use both formative and summative classroom assessments in coursework or student teaching experiences. It's going beyond just giving tests to making use of the results where things start to break down.

When looking at the whole package of what teachers do in today's classrooms--making, analyzing and interpreting their own assessments, decoding state test data, and occasionally (or frequently) collaborating with colleagues on this work---programs are coming up short. The Review didn't find a single program out of the 658 looked at for this standard that fully prepared teacher candidates, both as individuals and in collaborative teams, to analyze and interpret the data from both classroom and standardized assessments. Only 13% of programs provided even partially adequate practice in these vitally important activities. Six in ten of the programs evaluated are entirely missing the opportunity to ready their candidates to make use of state testing data.

Data analysis is definitely one of the tougher teacher responsibilities to 'learn on the job.' Teacher prep programs should definitely be checking that they're asking more of their candidates than just knowing how to give a test.

For more information about our Assessment and Data standard and examples of programs that stood out based on their attention to ensuring that teacher candidates practice working with all types of student data, check out the full findings report.