We can use data to break away from our everyday habits in order to improve student achievement through practicing instructional approaches that best fit the current student needs. In my research case I decided to look at how data could help me improve my mathematics instruction due to students’ lack of interest in mathematics. Because I saw such a love for books from my students I wanted to tie in literacy books to mathematics in hopes I would engage students. To complete this study, I needed to collect data to help show how the use of literacy books improved the comprehension of mathematics concepts. First, I had to decide on what data to collect. Not all data are alike and we have to decide what data is beneficial and identify for what specific purpose will the data be used. Data is more than just test scores, it can include: observations, samples of student work, surveys, video analysis, etc. For my research case, I collected surveys, samples of students’ works, narrative journal responses, and observations.
By collecting and analyzing data teachers can gain an understanding of students’ needs and identify their strengths and weaknesses. In my action research case I was able to identify my students’ weakness as their disinterest in mathematics. Initially, many students expressed their dislike towards mathematics. Since, data can be used to improve professional development I chose to look at how my instructional approach to mathematics could improve. As teachers, we can use data to hypothesize ways to improve student learning and identify factors that motivate student learning.
The hypothesizing that is done during the data collection process is done after data is collected. With the data present it is possible to draw conclusions that allows us, as educators, to decide whether instructional changes need to be made such as: modifying, extending lesson, and or changing instructional plans. I have found in my data collection process that my instructional approach to math will include the use of literacy books for this specific class as it has strong evidence suggesting it is effective for this specific targeted population.
Most importantly by collecting and analyzing data, data-driven decisions that aim to promote student success are possible and should result in student achievement.