“Without data you are just another person with an opinion.”
Last term I reflected on the process of teaching writing. I wanted to be really clear of what I did so I stepped through the process of what I do. This piece of writing is a follow on of a reflection I carried out in March.
My year 4s sat the written asTTle test and I followed through the process of marking and moderating alongside their team. I compared my targeted group’s data with their historic data and could identify that the first term intervention made a difference. Hattie cautions when calculating an effect size and especially when using less that 30 students. He highlights the usefulness of ensuring that all students are tested and that scores from the same group of students are compared.
I have studied all the year 4 data. Currently we have 34 students over three classes. Of that number, 25 year year 4 students at our school have data carried over from last year into this year. Therefore we have 9 new year 4 students at our school. Of that 25 original group, 11 made progress of 1 sub level and 5 of that 11 worked with me. The ongoing challenge is sustainability. I believe that the students I worked with will continue to make progress and I know they will maintain what they have learnt with me.
Soon their class teachers will be contacting families as part of three way conversations and I will be part of this.
My learning about data from unpacking the process.
I believe it is really important for teachers to track the historic data and I have taught the team I am working with how to do this. They looked at the same period of testing results and compared them across 12 months. When teachers only look at their interim March data and compare it to their October data, this gives a lulled sense of achievement. I now know that the focus needs to shift from March to March data. Then a clearer picture of learning is formed. Like reading, there is definitely a summer slide happening in writing. I can see this when I look at the October data and compare it with March. The holiday slide can be slowed down and I have achieved this when I targeted a group of older children and gave them a school chromebook to write with over the holidays. I will write about that strategy next.
My other learning is to focus more on the oral language before writing. Sometimes I believe that as teachers we can be so focussed on written output that other literacies are pushed aside.
Just to recap with strategies I used that went well.
- Start with the data. Show the children their results. Identify the gaps and plan strategies that will support the learner.
- Provide language based experience and use common school events or shared experiences to write about.
- Track how many words are written in a session and build a graph of the number over a week’s writing.
- Craft, craft and recraft. Using SOLO Taxonomy highlight key words that can help lift writing.
- Help the children reflect on what they have learnt about how to make their writing better.
- Show the children their progress and celebrate writing milestones with families.
Where to next
This term I have reset a goal. By the end of term 2 I will video the process of using a SOLO Taxonomy Describe Map to make a difference to Learner Outcomes so this can be used as a resource to build teacher capability.