You would think as students use technology more and more during the school day, the process of collecting and analyzing student scores and achievement data would also become more simple. After all, educational technology is essentially designed to help us (students and educators) complete basic daily tasks more effectively and efficiently.
However, to achieve the advantages of EdTech, it's key to avoid big data that clogs up your school network and hard drives. This is especially true of classrooms that utilize educational technology resources to help prescribe the next steps in your Response to Intervention (RTI) model. Let's look at why this notion is important.
Getting your RTI data under control and pointed in the right direction
The main purpose of a RTI model is to strategically and effectively direct instruction resources to help meet the needs of each tier of students. However, if you're bogged down with data and cannot even delineate where students belong within the tiers, then you will be very hard pressed to achieve any of your school or classroom's RTI goals.
If your Response to Intervention model is drowning in data and void of actionable results, in terms of helping student meet their learning goals, don't worry.
We've put together a few best practices and tips to help you get started on the right track towards getting your RTI data to enhance student learning and achievement:
1) Figure out the goal(s) of your RTI model
Plenty of schools and districts would like to use their data to prescribe learning paths for students, suggesting a curriculum "playlist" for each student within one of the three tiers. Others would just like to use their data as reference material when making large-scale decisions, leaving the tier-level management to their teachers.
Whatever the case, you won’t know where to go unless with your data fits within the overall model. Review your RTI goal (or a set of goals), find the data and achievement points your model requires, and stick to that goal throughout the development and execution process.
2) Audit your in-house solutions before purchasing new solutions
You wouldn’t believe how many schools and districts don’t know the full functionality of their own EdTech resources. It’s quite possible that the math curriculum software you use for remediation can actually make RTI prescriptions on a wider scale (hint, hint...), or that your software adoption a couple of years ago came with an Learning Management System (LMS) as a throw-in and you’re simply not using it.
As we all know, budgets are tight across the country, so it may be valuable to complete an inventory of your available resources to ensure you don't request proposals for things you already have.
3) Cut down on unnecessary data interaction and unrelated data points
Data interaction occurs when, somewhere in the chain, a person is either manually entering data, running reports, or generating charts on a regular basis. If so, chances are that task can be automated by aligning your network and systems to work together.
The goal in any adoption is to find solutions that work seamlessly with each other, particularly databases and LMSs that house, and utilize, any relevant student data. Doing so will allow your educators to spend more time offering valuable instruction within the tiers, and less time crunching numbers to identify who goes in what tier.
Additionally, make a continuous effort to identify the exact student data points that reflect to the goals you have laid out for your RTI model. Having tons of non-relevant data points can muck up the numbers and make analysis much more difficult for yourself and fellow staff members.
4) Seek online/cloud-based solutions over native software
The tech-world has seen massive changes over the past decade. Tasks that formerly could only be done via native, in-house software can now be completed online via the cloud, often with an open-source solution. EdTech is no different. Nearly any large-scale or small-scale educational data task can now be performed online with the right tools.
The key is to find the online tools that offer simple, easy-to-use data collection and analysis abilities. Doing so not only eliminates your own storage costs (hard drives and servers are expensive, to say the least), but gives you a level of warranted redundancy in case of emergency and/or failure.
Share your Response to Intervention data successes and pitfalls
Is your school currently bogged down with too much student data and not enough actionable student achievements? Maybe your school found some great ways to leverage data into great student success within your RTI model?