How Data Can Inform and Personalize Instruction
A blended learning classroom becomes truly personalized when the unit of data analysis deliberately shifts from the classroom level to the individual student level. With this shift, teachers and students learn to effectively utilize multiple sources of data to plan instructional units and monitor student progress toward mastering learning objectives. Student-facing data tracking tools like a goal tracker assist this process (see example PDFs below). Additionally, teachers might use assessment results to plan an in-person or virtual small group instructional session for students who have not yet mastered a learning objective. If a virtual group session is not feasible, the teacher might prepare an instructional video to share with the students and follow up with an individual or pair of students during office hours.
Another strategy blended learning classrooms often use to respond effectively to student-level data is differentiation. Students in a blended classroom might complete different assignments depending on their levels of mastery as they rotate through various in-class stations or complete online lessons. Similarly, in a remote context, teachers might reference individual student data to create personalized online lessons or differentiated remote activities.
Addressing Learning Gaps
In light of projections about COVID learning losses from school closures during spring 2020 (as well as forecasts of losses associated with potential future closures), purposeful use of proficiency-based growth assessments to identify strengths and gaps is likely to become even more crucial, regardless of whether learning happens in-person, remote, or a hybrid of these. Assessments commonly used for this purpose include: NWEA MAP, Renaissance STAR, and iStation.
With data that measures skills encompassing multiple grade levels and illuminates specific skills and knowledge students have and have not yet mastered, teachers can take specific instructional action to personalize teaching and learning in their classrooms. This is because: 1) these assessments illuminate strengths and gaps at a level of detail, which allows teachers to take specific instructional action and, 2) the assessments typically measure skills encompassing multiple grade levels.