5 Tips to Make the Most Out of Student Writing Data

With teacher and class level data now available in Revision Assistant’s Administrator Usage Report, you have even more writing performance data at your fingertips. But simply obtaining high-quality quantitative information is only half the battle when it comes to leveraging data for decision-making and instruction. Now that you have objective and consistent data on student writing progress at the district, school, teacher, and class level, what can you do next?

Take these 5 steps to make the most out of data in your district:

1. Motivate teachers: Accurate data can be a motivating force for teachers. When you are on the front lines day after day, it is sometimes difficult to recognize the incremental progress that students are making. Data can show teachers that students’ scores are indeed improving. Actionable, relevant data is also valuable because it shows teachers that data means more than just test scores. Now that you can access teacher and class level data, share highlights to support your teachers’ everyday work.

2. Share the data with students: Students may not be accustomed to quantitatively tracking their own writing performance over time. They write, receive a score, and move on. Classroom activities that combine data, such as Turnitin Revision Assistant’s Signal Check scores, with rubrics can shift this paradigm. Provide students with their writing performance data, have them score their own essay based on the same rubric, and then compare the scores.* Metacognitive exercises like this empower students to understand the criteria for excellence and reflect on their personal path towards improvement.

“Kids don’t always see themselves as writers. They see writing as something that other people can do. Data from Revision Assistant gives us the chance to change the culture of writing in the classroom.“ Jeremy Schwennen, Secondary Literacy Coordinator, Des Moines Public Schools

3. Energize your PLCs: Make the most out of your PLCs by using student writing data to push conversations beyond the instructional material. Examine school and district-wide writing data as a group to identify success stories and areas for improvement. Discussions about writing scores can catalyze the sharing of best practices and teaching strategies among your faculty. PLCs are also a time to celebrate successes; data serves as proof that what your teachers are doing is making a difference.

4. Contextualize the data: To make the most out of your reports, data should not be analyzed in a vacuum. Rather, we suggest interpreting writing data in the context of other ELA assessment data. Compare and correlate student scores over multiple years and across the other state or district writing and reading assessments that your students take. This provides a more well-rounded understanding of student performance and may help narrow down underlying causes that could be impacting test scores.

5. Create targeted lessons based on the data: Data can help identify student writing gaps. Prepare teachers to address these gaps by having instructional supports, resources, and strategies ready. Student writing data is also an excellent jumping off point for teacher collaboration. Encourage colleagues to work together to develop strategies and lessons that target trends revealed in the data. The most effective strategies can be communicated to the larger group in the aforementioned PLCs!

Ready to act on your data? These resources can help!


*Credit to Sammy Spencer, ELA Department Chair and Instructional Coach at El Camino Real Charter High School for this idea.