Instructional Skill: Responding to Data

Most of you are already pros at doing all the things great instructors do to collect data on students’ progress through assessments, checks for understanding and “pulse checks” with the class. However, it can be a trick to figure out how to use that data quickly and effectively. The quicker you intervene after recognizing the gap in mastery, the more likely the intervention is to be effective. Moreover, the sooner you repair misunderstanding, the less likely it is to get in the way as you move on to more complex material. It benefits both students and instructors to solve learning problems while they are simple and can be addressed with additional problems, a short activity, or a re-explanation that takes three minutes now rather and thirty minutes when things are tougher later on. So, here are some quick ways to respond to student data:

  • Reteach using a different approach.
  • Ask a student who you know has mastered the concept to explain. 
  • Identify the problem step and reteach according to that step. For example: “I think the place we’re struggling is establishing the MVP, so let’s focus in there.”
  • Identify and explain the most challenging terminology. For example: “I think the term ‘persona’ is hanging us up. Let’s go back to review what that means.” 
  • Reteach at a slower pace. For example: “Let’s go back and do the same thing again, just a bit slower. I’ll show you how to join the data, and I want you to pay close attention to how I am…” 
  • Reteach in a different order. For example: “Let’s take a look at the code from the bottom up this time.” 
  • Reteach targeting students of concern.For example: “If you’re ready to move on to the next piece, go for it but if you want to go over what we’ve just done, please meet the IA in the back of the class for a recap.”
  • Reteach using repetition. For example: “I think we’re getting stuck on decision nodes vs. chance nodes. I’ll give you 10 examples and I want you to identify the difference in each example.” 

A Data Analytics instructor in Washington, D.C. created this awesome assessment scoring bot to make life a little bit easier when it comes time to provide feedback to students. He explains it really well on his site. Take a look!