1. Hi George,

    In case you are wondering what that noise was, it was me dropping the mic 🎤 for you in case you didn’t do it.

    I had a similar conversation this week with a principal. Thanks for giving me a few more points to bring to the table the next time I have a conversation about data.


  2. Chris

    We definitely want to do whats best for kids. However, when we use the term evidence informed, that evidence is usually result of data. Majority of the research in education will be focused on data. When I look at the tests I do in my classes, I look at the data, to understand students misconceptions.

    Data driven is not the stupidest term in education. Data will help us become a research based profession not one that easily buys into snake oil.

  3. Dan

    I love you George but I’m struggling with your premise. I don’t assume that people are looking at kids as numbers just because they analyze and make decisions off assessments. If we are giving the kids theses tests the least we could do is use the information to guide our teaching. My bottom line is that this is a really tricky subject… we have to use numbers (data) but keep relationships and the whole child at the forefront of decisions.
    Thanks for keeping me thinking!

    • George

      Agreed…anything we can do to help our students, including the use of evidence in their learning is helpful. The bigger point is that we should not be “driven” by data; we should be driven by serving our students.

  4. Anne Burris

    AMEN! Our students must take ownership as well as teachers, administrators. We can use data to compare the improvements or areas of improvements for out students. The drive comes form inspiring them or the students inspiring us. I cannot not begin to tell you each day how my student inspire me. it is not just studying our students but ACTUALLY LISTENING AND EFFECTIVELY REACTING CREATIVELY TO IT!

  5. Jessica Gagne

    You are AMAZE-BALLS and I new when I saw you at TIES a few years back in mpls – you spoke the language of the teacher I want to be! I can’t wait for you to come to our district to present! Thank you!

  6. A to the MEN!!! (or women, whichever you happen to be). It is not data or numbers but information around many facets of what is happening in a student’s life that helps us make the best decision for that child (for that particular point in time). And those decisions may change. Remember that the data we get at any given time is just a snapshot! We should not weigh to heavily on any one piece of data because that can incorrectly skew our results! I love those three things you said you hope the real world is about-and I think those are the reasons that people quit bosses (and not jobs)! Same for students-they quit teachers (not knowledge)! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hey Pal,

    First, here’s to hoping that you are well and happy. Long grind to the end of the year, here. I’m just holding on tight and hoping to survive.

    Second, I dig the differentiation between “evidence informed” and “data driven” in this post. When I hear “data”, I automatically slip into thinking about Will’s “relegating learning to the quantifiable” argument. Data means things that I can measure — and there are tons of things that can’t be easily measured that matter a helluva’ lot more than the things we can easily measure.

    “Evidence informed” serves as a tangible reminder that we can look beyond things that are easily measured for information, too. And that’s a reminder that schools and teachers need to keep in the forefront of their minds for sure.

    I’m not totally sold on how the phrase rolls off my tongue — the “informed” part could probably use some polishing. But the idea really resonates.

    Rock on,

  8. Heather Schu

    Woot woot! Yes yes yesssssss. One of my counties focuses is Data Driven Decisions (in addition to High Impact Instruction and Collaborative Culture). My concern comes from the heavy focus on formative and summative instruments that do result in a number for the purpose of monitoring learning. When teaching 11 standards in 1 unit and expecting to assess each standard formatively then all, by separated, again within a summative for the soul purpose of tracking data you can only imagine the number of days lost to review, assessing, and reteaching. Meanwhile giving students the opportunity to create, act, and write to show they understand multiple standards would be more meaningful to them as students but how do we write that in the data wall? The conundrum is enough to depress even the best teachers. So we try to appease those monitoring us as teachers while making learning meaningful for students.

  9. Marina

    I get it. “Data driven” has been a term of secret dislike for me, precisely for the reasons you gave. It really isn’t rocket science to see that the human, and its sometime subtle gifts or sparks of learning development, are at a level almost incapable for numbers to define. It is a careful balance, but easier for some to focus on numbers. It is much more difficult to focus on the actual person with all of the intricacies of his/her complex learning development. Data should only be one piece of the puzzle, not the whole box.
    Data driven terms too often translate to… do what ever it take to increase scores, which almost always includes “drill and kill” strategies. You’ll probably get results that way, and the fact that they may be temporary may be slightly insignificant to those data driven people. I highly doubt that these data driven environments are fertile ground for growing genius. Just a thought.

  10. Jonathan Frantz

    If we truly focus on student needs and student learning, the “data” will follow. Teach a kid to pass the test, and they’ll pass it that day. Teach a kid to think, and they’ll pass every test life sends them.

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