“Data-driven” or “Data-enhanced” Instruction?

“Data-driven” or “Data-enhanced” Instruction?

Is it “data-driven instruction” or “data-enhanced instruction”? I turned to Google to find out! The search term “data driven instruction” returned “about  286,000” results. I then limited my search to the past year and was presented with 16 pages of results. That seemed like a pretty robust response. I then applied the same search to the term “data enhanced instruction” and my search returned “about 97” results. When I limited results to the past year and I was presented with an unimpressive 2 results. Wow! It looks like a TKO and “data-driven” is the winner!

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Are you interested in having your teachers use data more? Do you want them to take a ‘deep dive’ into student achievement? If so, the worst thing that you can do is to introduce your new initiative as “data-driven” instruction! First, because it alienates your teachers by implying that their current instruction is no longer valued. Secondly, you don’t really want to put data in the driver seat — Think about recent news stories about accidents involving driverless cars. The bond that entices students to step outside of their academic comfort zone comes is forged through their trust in their teacher. The term data-enhanced instruction, keeps teachers in the driver’s seat where they belong.

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Data-enhanced instruction is a perfect fit in a school environment that promotes the value of continuous improvement. After all, data has the power to take everyone’s game to the next level and the best way to lead your teachers forward is by example. For example, superpower your curriculum walkthroughs. Standardize the data that you gather by creating a Google Form that evaluates the key instructional strategies that you are discussing in your PLCs. Then invite your academic leadership team to join you. Make it clear to teachers that you are collecting formative data and that this is not an evaluative visit. The academic coaches can look for evidence the use of anchor charts and vocabulary walls. The vice principal can look for evidence of lesson planning and use of independent small group workstations. The principal can look for signs of student engagement and student learning. As the last person clicks the submit button, an follow-up email letter is populated with the gathered data and sent to the teacher. Within a matter of 48 hours, an instructional coach works 1-on-1 with the teacher to review the findings and address any areas of concern. Then a week or so later, the principal or V.P. walks into class to perform a formal observation. In the teacher’s review, the value of data becomes transparent as the teacher realizes that he/she just received their highest score. Now teachers will understand the transformative nature of data and want to provide the same advantage to their students.
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