Driven by Data: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

1. When are standards meaningless?

  • Simply, they are meaningless until you define how you will assess them. The assessments used define the standard that will be reached. (Doug: This helps explain why the first year results for common core testing in New York were so poor.) Since success on state tests is usually the goal, interim assessments need to use the same format as much as possible. Paul recommends that teachers have higher expectations than would be implied by state tests. While I agree with the idea of high expectations, I’m not in favor of kindergarten becoming the new first grade which it has in many schools. One way to do this is to select texts with grade level vocabulary and complex meanings.

Continuous Review

  • After the first assessment, subsequent assessments should contain questions about material that had to be retaught due to poor results. This will make the assessment longer, but it is vital if you want to promote mastery. It also allows for ongoing review, which is much more effective than a quick reteach just before the high-stakes test. When I taught high school chemistry I did this while other teachers whizzed though the course and started review in May. As department chair, I mandated that we all give the same tests at the same time and tests only contained items from previous state exams. This meant that the difficultly level was right on and the items were aligned with the syllabus and pretested by the state.

Multiple Choice Tests: Are They Good or Evil?

  • They can be vapid and feature low-rigor, but they don’t need to. Note that Advance Placement exams use multiple choice tests. (See page 20 for an example.) The difference between multiple choice and open-ended questions is that the former requires distinguishing between various plausible actions, while the later requires one to put one’s thoughts together in their own words.
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One Response to “Driven by Data: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo”

  1. ibidiran olubunmi v says:

    i enjoyed your book titled a practical guide to data driven instruction.

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