Making Time


By Mary Anne Mather, Managing Editor
TERC’s Using Data for Meaningful Change Blog

graphic of two question marks, text reads "generate interpretations for results observed"

Source: Rowland School District, CA

We don’t learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.
John Dewey

States, districts, education reform pundits…they force our reaction to standardized test scores. But there is more to data than those somewhat controversial numbers currently being used in many places as the primary data point to inform changing policy and practice, and even to rate teachers. Unfortunately we don’t hear many talking about “reflection data.” Let’s take the time to collect data via reflective practice…and teach it to students. Then we’ll all be on sounder ground for tempering test scores with meaningful data that can potentially drive sustained changed.

In his blog entry, Mark Clements focuses on teaching reflection to students, but it’s a lesson to take to heart as professionals, too.

The Importance of Reflection in Education

Mary Anne Mather is also a Using Data Senior Facilitator & Social Media Liaison on Twitter & FaceBook

Group of people standing on a graph line that is pointing upwardIn early May, TERC’s Using Data Director, Diana Nunnaley, was invited to attend an important national meeting that can have future influence on public awareness, policy, and pre-service and in-service teacher preparation related to data literacy for teachers.

Diana was selected because of the groundbreaking work TERC initiated over ten years ago, developing a process of collaborative inquiry that engages teachers in cycles of data analysis and root cause analysis to inform instructional changes. Using Data currently works in districts and schools nationwide, building teacher-led data teams and facilitating a proven process of data analysis, instructional improvement, and increased student achievement—all leading to successfully narrowing achievement gaps among student population groups.   

The meeting was coordinated by WestEd and Education Northwest, and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It brought together 50 nationally recognized experts who have studied the meaningful use of education data to improve instruction. They represented several universities, education research organizations, professional development providers, and foundation leaders.

Diana shares a glimpse of the discussions that ensued at the meeting and the musings they spurred. She concludes with a call to action for all who are committed to excellent education for all children… (more…)