Using a Reading DATA WALL Effectively

Updated: Jan 22, 2021


I have a love/hate relationship with data walls. I always have and probably always will.

In many classrooms and schools, it is a requirement to make progress and testing data publicly visible. I really don't like shaming kids and being the cause of negative feelings. I really don't like shaming teachers and being the cause of negative feelings.

I truly believe that no one--not even district personnel--should be able to come in and have a conversation about a specific child based on the scores, data and numbers displayed on the wall if they have never met that child or know his or her academic history.

🤔 I think publicly visible teacher and student data makes people teach to the test so their numbers “look good”.

🤔 I think publicly visible teacher and student data highlights and draws attention to only the failures of a group.

🤔 I think publicly visible teacher and student data, depending on how it is displayed and used, can violate FERPA.

JUST MY OPINIONS...

A Data Wall is a place to show a snapshot of a group...not specific students and their personal information.

Data walls should be created, displayed and used with the definition of progress in mind and the well being of the group the data is describing.

Data walls should be used as a big picture to START conversations about more specific student data.

MY DEFINITION OF PROGRESS

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those politically correct people that want to give everyone a participation award with roses, smiles and sunshine. BUT…I am the teacher who has the responsibility of making sure every student in my care makes progress and their information is kept confidential.

My personal working definition of PROGRESS