Ms. Rojas is a 4th grade teacher at ABC Elementary.
Ten of her students were not up to grade level on the
practice tests for statewide reading that she was
conducting in her class. It seemed that no matter
how much they practiced and drilled, they could
not reach the required score. As Ms. Rojas was leaving
school one day, her colleague, Ms. Blanco gave her
a recommendation -- "Look
at the data!"
A week later, Ms. Rojas came to a startling conclusion.
She found that six of the students had performed
above average on a 30 minute national reading test,
yet they continued to score below average on the 2 hour
practice exam for the state test. She also learned that
five of those students walked to school and seldom had
breakfast. In addition, the statewide tests were generally
conducted about 10 AM -- just before lunch. "Wow,"
she thought, "maybe there is some merit in examining
the data and looking for the root of the issues!"
As Ms. Rojas discovered, information about the students,
the community, and the school can be combined to help
address the current and future needs of the students.
In most cases, the information already exists -- it's
simply a matter of collecting, compiling, and interpreting
it. This does not mean that teachers need to
be statisticians. On the contrary, this course
is designed to illustrate methods for collecting and
analyzing data that do not require complex mathematics.