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Ohio Data Primer

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Module 4: Tutorial—Where Can We Improve?

Example Data

From the table it is difficult to get a clear sense of the progress of individual students or even of the class. There are too many numbers. They have too many scales. One column uses letters. It is difficult to know who is learning and who is not.

The columns appear in the order of the dates of the tests. Learning accumulates, and time matters in teaching and learning. Most gradebooks store data in time sequence. From the perspective of the teacher, what indicates success in teaching and learning is not so much the distribution of students' scores on any one test as it is by their progression over time over successive tests and performances.

To see that, we need to put the numbers on a chart that shows trends over time. Many software tools, like spreadsheets or most digital gradebooks, can plot the scores for each student by test produces a graph. Often they look something like this.

Example Data

This chart is not helpful. The software fits all the data to one numeric scale. This causes each test to squeeze its scores into just one small portion of the overall scale. The hills and valleys on the graph are dominated by scale changes, not student performance. Individual students trends cannot be seen because the lines are too close together. One simple change in how the graph is constructed can remove these problems. Click here to see how the graph would change.


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