In our work with some of the outstanding teachers in our district, we have the privileged opportunity to view practitioners that are doing great things to help kids move forward. One practice we’ve seen over the last couple of years…years that have seen good growth across the district…are teachers having chats with students about their performance data. These conversations have been observed at every grade-level, K-8.
These “data chats” look slightly different from classroom to classroom, but they all have the same effect, which is overwhelmingly positive. Teachers having short, but focused, discussions with students about their performance are extremely powerful.
One of the most powerful aspects of these chats is having the opportunity to not only help students realize where they are and where they are going, but to embrace the opportunity to help students realize that where they think they are going can be so much more. John Hattie describes this effect as “student reported grades”, which has an effect size of 1.44. Recall during our Back-to-Work day that Doug Fisher communicated that any effect size greater than 0.40 are practices that move students forward one year or more. So, extrapolating from that, an effect size of 1.44 is a practice that can help students move 3+ years academically in a single calendar year. Definitely worth exploring.
Before going further, let’s let Hattie have a go at explaining what “self-reported grades” mean:
All well and good, but how do we apply this to help our students? Here are a few thoughts.
One, we consistently hear that “we don’t have enough time”, and well, we agree. Time is a finite resource, and there is not enough time to do ‘everything’ you might think you have to do. So, what’s the answer to time? We say exchange things that have greater impact for those that have lesser. One of the things we can do that has a significant impact is to talk with students, one-on-one, about where they are and where they think they need to go. And then as Hattie says, “mess them up” from where they think they can go. Don’t help them meet their goals; help them exceed their self-inflicted goals.
So another thing we hear…”Great theory, but what does that look like, and who is actually doing it?” So here are some actionable things to answer that.
One of the “non-negotiables” that we are presented with is administering the i-Ready Diagnostic. After students complete the Diagnostic, i-Ready assigns them an instructional plan using the i-Ready online instruction. As students work through those lessons, one of the best practices we’ve seen is frequent teacher monitoring of student progress, in many cases a daily check to see if anyone has been flagged as struggling. Frequent checking on student progress, and quickly checking-in with a student if they are struggling, allows the student to get back on track quickly and to keep moving forward. But what if they are cruising along just fine without issue? Well, we still want to talk with them to help them keep that momentum. That’s where data chats come in.
Many teachers have developed their own protocols and tracking sheets to conduct these chats. If you have one that’s working for you, by all means continue doing what you’re doing. For those that might want to tweak their protocols and goal sheets, or those just venturing into trying this, there are now materials available within i-Ready Central to help. When logged into i-Ready Central you can type “data chat” into the search box on the left-side of the screen and see several resources. One of the documents is titled, “Data Chat: Online Instruction” and is available here. This two-page document gives an example protocol on page one, and a student data/goal sheet on page 2. It is straightforward and helps to focus the conversation with the student.
If you haven’t tried data chats, give it a shot. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Lastly for now, our very own Amy Crismon-Noguera has been doing this for a couple of years now with some outstanding results. The 4th grade team at Harvest Valley has really leveraged this practice (and others, of course) to get some very solid student growth results. Have a look at one of Amy’s data chats here.
If you are doing something involving data chats and are having success, please let us know. We’d love to talk with you about sharing your practices and expertise with our professional learning community here in RSD. Keep growing!