Data can be intimidating. Collecting data that is specific to a learning objective and breaking it down in ways that can easily translate to instructional strategies can make the use of data less daunting.
“In its simplest form, data is a collection of facts and statistics that can be used for planning or analysis.” (RethinkEd.com) Data provides teachers with the evidence they need to substantiate the instructional choices they make for their students. Data can also help teachers monitor students‘ progress as they progress through a unit.
Performance assessments, pre-tests, student conferences, attendance, and test scores are some examples of data sources that help inform classroom, school, and district decisions.
What is baseline data and how is it collected?
Baseline data measures student understanding, knowledge or performance prior to intervention or teaching. It can be collected through various measures including: percent accuracy, frequency, duration, rate and intervals.
- Number of words spelled correctly
- Percentage of math problems solved correctly
- Vocabulary words correctly defined
|Student||Problem #1||Problem #2||Problem #3||Problem #4||Total/Notes|
|J.D.||+||+||–||+||3/4; M/not labeling; copied incorrectly|
|A.B.||+||+||–||–||2/4; NM/misidentifying factors|
|P.K.||–||+||–||–||1/4; NM/basic facts; not labeling|
|R.W.||+||+||+||–||3/4; E/ copied incorrectly|
Key: NM– did not meet expectations M: met expectations E: exceeded expectations
- Number of words read
- Number of times a student gets out of their seat
- Number of times students raise their hands
|Class Period||Followed directions without prompting||Directions Given||Total|
- How long a student engages in tantrum behavior
- How long a student engages in peer interactions
- How long a student remains on task
|DG’s Time on Task in ELA|
||End Time||Total Number of Minutes|
|1/16||9:05||9:37||32 (Webquest w/ partner)|
|1/19||8:51||9:20||29 (Audio book)|
- Number of words read per minute
- Number of math problems completed per minute
- Number of tantrums per hour
- The occurrence of body rocking
- The occurrence of staying in an assigned area
- The occurrence of off-task behavior
|Wandering from Seat|
Without baseline data, it is difficult to show improvement in learning in a class as a whole or in identified subgroups of that class: identified students, students ready for additional challenge, students who speak English as a second language, etc.
Baseline data should always serve as a starting point for instruction and can be gathered from prior student work, student assessment scores (classroom or standardized), or other anecdotal data. It is not recommended that teachers use homework as baseline data, since it is difficult to ascertain whether or not students’ completed the work independently.
Section two of GSC’s lesson plan depicts the prior evidence and baseline data that justifies the lesson objective and calls for an analysis of this data. To earn full points on this portion of the lesson plan, the baseline data must be gathered from a pretest directly targeting the skills to be taught in the lesson. In sequential lessons with objectives that build on one another, new prior evidence might include the data and work samples from the most recent preceding lesson.
Once pretest data has been collected, it must be analyzed to determine an appropriate instructional response for each student. To do so, consider proficiency in regard to your objective as described above. Which students are close to proficiency based on their pretest data? Which students are far from proficiency and will need scaffolded support to move toward mastery? Complete an error analysis for each student’s pretest mistakes and describe the results in section 2b. Next, look for patterns in student understanding and misunderstanding in an effort to determine possible student groupings during the lesson. Consider representing your data in a graph or chart to bring these patterns to light.