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Ohio Data Primer

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Module 3: Tutorial—Are We Leaving Anyone Behind?

This connect-the-dots display shows some obvious and some subtle facts. Some students show long-term upward trends, others downward, but more show horizontal (if somewhat erratic) trends. The erratic part is related to measurement error and other noise in the scores. Still, we can easily identify students trending up, trending down, and staying in place. Being able to quickly see who is going where and how far they have come is important for planning instruction.

Not all of the dots are connected all three years. A student may have missed a test or moved out of or into the school. Only their performances while at the school are shown in this display. However, if too many dots do not connect, we are alerted there is a student mobility problem and we must interpret what we see with caution.

Knowing who individual students are also is important to interpreting test results. We may be surprised by changes in a student's performance over time that we might have missed. More to the point, as a teacher or principal, we will want to bring our own detailed knowledge of a student's experiences and achievements to these performance displays. The test does not know students' home lives or their school lives. We do. Dips and leaps in performance may be related to prior program decisions or life events. We need to factor those into our interpretations. One way to learn who students are in these graphs is to hover the mouse over a data point to make a balloon appear that identifies the student. Click to see.

Knowing whether students are accelerating their learning, staying the same, or falling behind is critically important for adjusting the instruction they receive. Knowing that there are consistencies shared by those falling behind or by those moving ahead gives teachers some understanding about how instructional practices influence learning. Good visuals can help us determine if students are growing at different rates. We can use the graph on this page to identify lines that slope upward, downward, or stay flat. Click to see an example.

The practice pages for Module 3 provide a visualization tool for this kind of color coding, for a segment (one year to the next) or for a trend (first to last year). The tool also can display only students who are improving, declining, or not changing. Click to see an example .

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