If traditional data is not driving your instruction, what’s the deal?

Data is not a new concept and in education, it is one of the most prolific buzz words around.  As we begin to work with our students, we are either expected to use the data presented to us or generate our own data points on each student.  Many times, teachers make most of the pivotal decisions about instruction based on data and student expectations, however there are some educators that abandon traditional data when creating their lessons.  So, I am left wondering, if data is not driving your instruction, what is the deal?

What are you using to discern groups, instructional strategies and make other critical decisions in your classroom?  I, am perhaps not the best model when it comes to varying strategies based on data.  Once I find something that works for my group, Im sticking with it.  However, I wonder on many occasions, if I switch up my style, will the students suffer?  If I abandon the hard core data and base my instructional strategies off of something less tangible like checklists, would my outcome be the same?

If the checklist or observation gives me insight into a better grouping model or allows me the opportunity to see that I need more review, should I wait for a traditional test to change my methods?  The short answer is no!  Many times there is great fear in changing the way that you teach because you dont want the students to learn in spite of your on the job research however, I am convinced that a little modification in the way things are done can be healthy and impactful for your students. 

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