Deepen Teacher Inquiry  Series - Part 11

You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data
— Daniel Keys Moran

Continuing from last week, we were rummaging around the area of evidence analysis, and the importance of “analysing data in more than one way”.

Summative data analysis gives you the opportunity to learn a great deal about what is happening for the learning of the students and the impact of teacher actions and strategies. It can also bring to fore ways to improve the learning experience for the students.

This highlights the importance of the collection of evidence as part of the inquiry process. Evidence that is not just using anecdotal evidence such as the good old gut feeling or the quick check with students about their learning at the end of a lesson. It needs to be concrete and purposeful.

However, once the evidence is collected, it is equally important to play with your data as well. Playing with your data helps you get beneath the surface and dig deep into your learning and the undercurrent of what is happening for the students learning.

Playing with your quantitative data means more than just simply creating one chart graph or table and drawing conclusions based on what you see at first sight. Rather it is important to look at the quantitative data in different ways.

For example:

  • Average pre and post-test scores to look at your classes growth as a whole
  • Pre and post-test scores to look at individual students and chart how much each student has gained from pre to post
  • Noting any outliers - students who made extremely large gains or no or little gain at all
  • Ask yourselves what might be the explanation for any outliers?  what actions might you take with these students?
  • Sort your pre and post data by students who made small medium and large gains to see if any interesting patterns emerge related to characteristics of students who have made different types of gains. -  this is referred to as given quantitative data context.

So if you are collecting forms of numerical evidence, how are you planning to process this evidence? It doesn't have to be complicated and complex. By looking deeper for themes and outliers you often get a more detailed picture of the impact than if you were to just look at the data at face value.

Keeping in mind; the value of manipulating the data in various ways is to potentially gain more detail about the impact of the inquiry strategy.

Next week we will begin to unpack ways to process and play with qualitative evidence.

Tabitha Leonard