Data: I love data.
There is something so satisfying about setting a goal, seeing the progress from month to month and then (hopefully) seeing the goal achieved.
Setting a school wide goal and collecting the data from all our students was not something that we had done as a school in the past.
This year we decided to set a school wide goal. Since we didn't have any data to go on from the year before it was hard to decide on what needed improving.
This is the goal we decided on:
80 % of the children leaving the school will know all the letters of the alphabet.
We are a special needs school for junior (4 year olds) and senior kindergarten (5 year olds) age children and the children only usually stay with us for a year (sometimes 2). So, we have a short timeline to work on this skill and because they are all special needs, there are learning differences in the group.
I think some thought my goal was a bit lofty but I believe that if you have high expectations, the children will rise to the occasion.
I am very much a visual learner and I have to “see” my data.
I decided to keep track of the number of letters the children knew each month along with the number of sight words they knew.
I displayed the data in a corner of my room. Each teacher had a different colour paper and JK students were on a blue background and SK students were on black. Students who did not know the alphabet were on the back of the door and those that did know the alphabet were moved onto the wall on the right. When the door was open, the data was hidden. The children themselves actually took no notice of the wall.
On the first page, on the left, I have the number of letters that they know. On the right is the number of pre-primer words they know.
Once they know all of them, I add a second page on top with the primer words on the left and the grade one list on the right.
Each data section I did in a different colour.
I am happy to say that 79% of our students reached the goal by the end of the school year. I was happy with that result. I used the data to also figure out how many learned their sight words.
I wasn't sure that I was even collecting the data that we needed to know. Was it relevant? Was it important? Was it the right data to collect? I'm not sure. But it was a start.
Next year I think I will collect some more detailed (specific) data on the children. I think it's important to know about other areas such as rhyming words, syllables, beginning and ending sounds maybe even reading levels. Does the number of letters or sight words known, correlate with reading levels?
What type of data do you collect? Do you do it monthly? or per term? I would love to hear from you with your thoughts. Maybe there is something I haven't thought of yet.
Here are the two sheets that I used. You should be able to save them by right clicking on the pictures and "save as".