How Can Data Improve Classroom Success?

As any educator can attest, testing and assessments that produce useful student data to inform personalized learning plans, gauge student growth and evaluate teacher effectiveness is time well spent. After all, a test is only valuable when a teacher is able to take action based upon the resulting data.

Student learning data can offer invaluable support for teachers and administrators as they determine students’ understanding of a topic, track learning progress and identify areas for classroom or individual improvement. Data can provide a roadmap to help educators make better decisions about their instruction techniques. When teachers use data to guide their decision making and planning, student success rates can improve dramatically.

Teachers can maximize the use of data in their classrooms in a number of ways, including to:

  1. Assess student performance: As a first step, teachers can collect information on how well students understand the principles and information being taught. Quizzes, benchmark assessments, end of unit exams and similar tests can provide a valuable check-in on student progress toward educational goals and allow for midstream adjustments to further student comprehension.
  2. Improve student engagement: Only half of public school students are engaged at school; yet engaged and hopeful students are 4.6 times more likely than their actively disengaged schoolmates to feel that they are doing well in school. Educators can use data to first assess students’ attitudes and then develop strategies to create greater levels of buy-in and engagement, leading to improvements in student performance.
  3. Adapt instructional approaches: Making efforts to meet students where they are academically and emotionally can lead to greater improvements in student achievement levels. By using data to examine a student’s learning style and understand their comprehension level, educators can adjust their teaching methods and deliver more personalized and effective instruction.

Of course, the use of data in schools is not limited to teachers’ use. School administrators can use observational data, for instance, to provide invaluable insights into teaching methods and instructional approaches. This data can help determine areas for improvement and give administrators the information they need to identify targeted professional development opportunities for individual educators.

At the National Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC), coming up on January 23 – 26, 2018, there will be no shortage of data-focused topics being covered. During the conference, attendees will have access to a variety of interactive and informative sessions on data use in classrooms, schools and districts, including:

  • Do We Even Have the Right Data?, which will guide you through thoughtful new approaches to data to help you formalize a data systems approach that enables you to share student and practitioner data safely and securely.
  • PII: What Schools Can Do to Protect Student Data Privacy, which will guide you through some fundamental requirements and processes for managing personally identifiable information and help you begin to bridge the trust gap with parents and other community stakeholders.
  • Key Indicators of Highly Effective Technology Use, which will examine the walkthrough process, specifically addressing technology and how to make overall improvements.
  • Personalized Classroom: Little Data = Big Results!, which will teach you how to create personalized learning profiles for your students, use technology to help students set personalized learning goals, and monitor progress toward those goals using easy formative assessment tools.


For more details about these sessions and the more than 600 other presentations and workshops taking place at FETC, visit