Data helps teachers and students understand the *what* and the *when* in a daily feedback loop: what each student has mastered, what each student needs help with, when a student may be ready to accelerate, and when a student may need extra support in addition to classroom instruction. It is crucial that teachers have access to well visualized displays of their data so that they may merge the insights generated every day in class from observation and student work with more formal diagnostic and interim assessments. Such a display is a powerful tool in a teacher’s lesson planning arsenal.
But for teachers and students to fully realize the power of this tool, they must be empowered to create the *how*: classroom learning experiences that can flex according to the wide range of individual student needs on any given day, ensuring that those students are behind are given the necessary support to catch up and those who are ready, may move ahead. A single lesson, delivered with a traditional approach to all students in a class at the same time, is not necessarily the best way to accomplish this – at least not every lesson, every day. To fully support students in maximizing their potential, instructional models must point the way to the what, the when *and* the how.
Rocketship Public Schools, a national network of 19 charter elementary schools, is deeply committed to an instructional model that does just that. Preston Smith, Rocketship’s CEO, offers an in depth explanation of Rocketship’s model in a recent Fordham blog series (here, here, and here).
Watch this video to see how Jen Bickel, a Rocketship second-grade teacher who faced her own reading struggles in elementary school, uses data and a personalized approach to reading instruction to ensure each one of her students finds joy and challenge in each day’s learning experience.