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Let Google Sheets level-up your data collection

Typically, when I think about tools and techniques for collecting and analyzing data, my mind goes to one place:

But after a brief journey to the final frontier, I think about the best ways to use student data to promote and progress student learning. Enter Google Sheets and Conditional Formatting!

Teachers who use a pretest and posttest instructional model can use Google Sheets to record scores from their classroom-based assessments and then use the Conditional Formatting feature to 'color-code' scores. When the posttest data is entered and conditionally formatted, it creates a quick visual snapshot of gains that were made during the unit.

Prior to the unit's end, teachers can use the data they gather to create differentiated groups based on students' specific needs and group them by similar assessment scores. Tracking data this way has many benefits such as:

1. Giving more focus to teacher Collaborative/PLC time.
     Teachers use this tool when they meet during collaboration times. It gives a quick visual for forming differentiated groups based on evidence collected from classroom-based assessments and district standardized assessments. Using the tool, teachers are able to group students based on needs and, when collaborating, it gives teachers a visual to differentiate students between classes by using a walk-to intervention model.

2. Improving the Teacher Evaluation process!
    Need evidence for student growth? No problem! With the sleek conditional formatting (color coding) through Google Sheets, administrators have concrete visual proof of student growth in any given content area.

3. Creating better communication with learning support and ELL.
     Communication can be tricky for teachers who already have no free seconds during the school day. Since Google Sheets can be shared, conditional formatting with Google Sheets allows for learning support and ELL teachers to access student scores and data from classroom-based assessments and will show them what unit the students are on at any given time. Conversely, learning support and ELL can also have data collection sheets made for their programs that would communicate progress with the general classroom teacher.

4. Providing teachers and administrators a clear-cut sense of accomplishment.
     Teaching and leading a school are hard jobs and while individual lessons and flashes of student-brilliance give teachers a feeling of accomplishment, the concrete, color-coded evidence teachers and administrators see using this data collection tool can be a point of pride and increase morale. Want to see the impact of powerful instruction? Just look at the improved results in scores from a pretest to a posttest. Sometimes these are dramatic and have students improving from getting no problems correct to all of them. 

Want to really ratchet this up to the next level? Like two schools in the Edmonds School District, build a website with Google Sites and link each teacher's Google Sheet notebook. Protect the permission by sharing the Sheets only with teachers within the grade-level, building administration, and specialists. With all the school's data in one place, teachers and administrators will be able to work together to identify students who need more support. Specialist teachers will be able to easily see how their students are doing in the general education classroom and how to offer more specific support. It's a great tool that will ultimately increase academic achievement!

For directions, see video below.


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