Data To Drive Instruction

by on January 23, 2012

Data To Drive Instruction

By: Lori Furgerson

A few years ago a friend and I were on vacation in Pennsylvania. We had some time and decided to take a tour of the QVC studios. I was amazed when they showed us how they use data to drive how they sell. They had a huge monitor that was showing in real time the sales as the people were on television selling the item. They said when they would see a spike in sales, they would tell the host to repeat what they had just said or done because it had been successful in getting people to purchase the item.

My friend, who is also in education, and I were amazed at how in depth they look at their data and likened it to how we look at the data of students.

Often times people give children assessments and don’t really look at the results and plan the instruction around it.

Giving assessments means nothing if we don’t analyze it and come up with a plan for how we are going to use it. After an assessment is administered, time needs to be taken to look at it and see where the areas are the student is struggling. Once the areas are identified, a plan must be created as to how the child’s gaps are going to be closed.

For example, if you have a child who struggles with reading, the area they need support in is not always obvious. An assessment needs to be administered to get the details. Are they just not reading quickly enough, are they lacking the skills to sound out words, or is it that they still struggle with phonemic awareness? None of this is known without administering an assessment. It is not enough to administer the assessment. Take the time to look at the data and create a plan for how you are going to meet the needs of that student. The sooner you give them an intervention, the quicker they will be successful.

QVC, who does about $7.8 billion in sales, knows the importance of looking at their data and making adjustments where needed to be successful. We need to do the same with our students.

Lori Furgerson is a national literacy consultant who has provided technical assistance to school sites and professional development to teachers across the country.  She has been in education for 17 years and has taught in three under performing schools with great success.  She has been a reading intervention teacher, as well as State Implementation Advisor to the state of Hawaii. Skillful use of a variety of core reading and intervention programs has allowed Lori to professionally shape leadership at the state, district, and local levels while increasing their instructional ability to successfully execute effective instruction. She works with teachers daily as an instructional coach and has a true passion for seeing them succeed and become the best they can be. She is on a mission to help teachers and parents meet the needs of struggling readers. Grab these two FREE assessments to see exactly where your student needs support.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Hughie Bagnell January 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Hi Lori…Thank you for sharing this information on QVC and ‘Data To Drive Instruction.”…Hughie :)

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MarVeena January 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I wish I had thought of this when I was trying to help my step son with his home work.
The more creative approaches the better!
It is great to have people like you as an inspiration to parents trying to help their kids learn.

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Jennifer Bennett January 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Great post Lori! I am learning with each new day just how important it is to assess the data and as a former teacher, it was the data that would consistently tell me whether or not I was really reaching the students where they were at. Thanks for sharing!

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Anastasiya day January 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Lori, great post! It is so important to take the time to look at different areas, to be able to see how best we can support our kids. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

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denny hagel January 24, 2012 at 12:05 am

I only wish there were more dedicate and concerned teachers like you! Great information as always! Keep up the great work!:)

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Sarah January 24, 2012 at 8:31 am

Very true and thankful to have people like you helping our children!

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Andrea Beadle January 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Interesting analogy with QVC. I suppose it is something that you can apply to anything. If you monitor your results you can repeat what created them! Same goes with marketing… Thank you – very interesting/

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Sharon O'Day January 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Lori, whether it’s with my “women clients” who I help get a handle on their finances or my international consulting clients, all good decisions are driven by numbers. Now you add QVC … and student assessment … to the mix. Thanks for reinforcing my point! ;-)

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AJ Perisho January 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm

This is great information for all of us!
There is always data of some sort that is based on our actions.
The data is what I refer to as a lagging indicator of how well we are doing. We need to also understand the data on the leading indicators that determine how successful our efforts are going to be.
Great post!

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Lori Thayer January 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Very interesting analogy. I wish teachers had that input so they knew when their instruction was getting through.

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Molly Rider January 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

It would be awesome if there was more money and support for teachers to truly utilize tools like this! Thank you for sharing :)

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Kim Garst January 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Great info! I have a client who does something similar to you. I will have to introduce you if you are interested.

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Mona January 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

In this era, where information comes at us so quickly – I appreciate that this is still the fundamental way to manage ourselves. Assess, then come up with a plan that works for me (or my clients) is no different than years ago. This is a reminder to stick to the basics!

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Olga Hermans January 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm

It’s a good thing to do tests that show the factors why students are not able to read or what the cause is of their development. Thanks Lori!

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Patricia Ogilvie January 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm

As a former school teacher myself, I’ve always loved what creative and inspiring educators have to offer – great job! Patricia

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Kim Hawkins January 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Love the comparison factors you used here. It doesn’t matter how much data we collect if we don’t come up with a plan to utilize it.

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Liz Maness January 26, 2012 at 12:24 am

I love it!!! You have to know what do do with the data. I’ve been in this business a really long time and you can get really bogged down in data and forget the mission!

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Michele January 26, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Data is important in many areas of our every day lives. Watching how many calories you eat? Data. How much money for the electric company? Data. It is no surprise that it is an important part of a teachers toolbox when learning how to best serve their clients (students).
Thanks for the great post!

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Lisa Birnesser January 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm

What a great analogy, Lori! This truly allows you to know if what you have assessed and implemented has been truly effective. Getting feedback and return demonstration of skills is so vital. Love what you do-thanks for this great post!

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Marie Leslie January 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm

This makes so much sense. We need to look at our data and actually use it to make alterations and changes in our policies, in our behaviors and in our actions to increase success. I think this is as true for business as it is education–just as you have demonstrated in your article.

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Jennifer January 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Great analogy Lori, thanks. One of my big complaints about the public schools in my area is that they appear to do assessments just for the sake of assessing, and then do nothing valuable with the information. The individualized planning that you advocate (and that our school does!) is the way to help kids succeed.

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Designer Rob Russo February 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Great post, Lori. I’m most fascinated by the QVC factoid. What an interesting and effective way to use data to increase sales.

That “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” saying comes to mind. No matter what our objectives are, we might as well repeat what works.

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