Data Motivates Students to Achieve
by Jana Bennett
In a past blog post, we discussed four powerful ways student data helps inform instructional and intervention efforts, including:
- Identifying at-risk students early
- Informing and differentiating instruction to close the learning gap
- Predicting student achievement on end-of-year targets
- Promoting student success in subsequent grade levels
Without doubt, data is an unrivaled asset in today’s educational landscape, but to fully leverage the power of data to improve student achievement, students should be included in the process.
Ron Berger, Chief Academic Officer for EL Education, wrote in his book “The most powerful determinants of student growth are the mindsets and learning strategies that students themselves bring to their work—how much they care about working hard and learning, how convinced they are that hard work leads to growth, and how capably they have built strategies to focus, organize, remember, and navigate challenges.”1
Why Sharing Data with Students Matters
Partnering with students to collect and analyze data helps students, Berger says, “become active agents in their own growth.”1
Using easy-to-understand, seamless data with students gives them a valid starting point for progress, allows them to identify their own strengths and weaknesses, and infuses motivation to set goals and achieve.
Student-engaged assessment practices – when students work in tandem with educators and are empowered to view and analyze their own student data, according to Berger2 – can inspire and motivate:
- Students to care about their success in the classroom
Strategically sharing data with students puts them back in control of their own success. Valid, reliable data gives them the opportunity to analyze their performance, track their progress, and see their hard work pay off.
- Students to adopt a positive mindset
When students see actual progress and begin to experience success, their mindset shifts from disconnected and unmotivated to engaged and driven. Data helps students see the connection between practice, effort, dedication, attitude, and increased aptitude.2
- Attentive reflection
Mindful reflection is built into data-driven learning efforts, and it helps students become self-directed learners. Once students complete an assessment or assignment and receive feedback, reflection begins. Students can begin to analyze their errors for patterns and learn what the data is saying about their current level of performance.2
- A culture of collaboration and trust
Berger explicitly states that “making data transparent requires a safe classroom culture.” When students know that their teachers care about them and their success, and when students know that their student data is not shared with any other student, meaningful trust is established. From this level of understanding, students and teachers can collaborate on new ways to use data to progress and achieve.2
Does your district employ student-engaged assessment practices?
1 Berger, Ron, Rugen, Leah, Libby, Woodfin. MindsShift. “Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools Through Student-Engaged Assessment:” [Excerpt from chapter: Using Data with Students]. Retrieved August 19, 2016. https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/09/08/how-students-can-be-partners-in-data-driven-approaches-to-learning/
2 Berger, Ron, Rugen, Leah, Libby, Woodfin. EL Education. “Why Student-Engaged Assessment Matters.” Retrieved August 20, 2016. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjY6o7GltDOAhUDOCYKHXmtBn4QFggnMAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Feleducation.org%2Findex.php%2Factions%2Fvmg%2Fdownload%2Fasset%3Fid%3D1246&usg=AFQjCNHPZLlEqDTOn4W7QQKWpL4ND8E5WA&sig2=IsR87TPSagbmbFtOI9PFzQ