If you’re already confused by the title, that’s OK. I wrote an article for edSurge about how I used Google Apps for Educaion to collect data on my students learning which I then used to drive my instruction and personalize their learning. Really powerful stuff. This is a companion piece to that article that will show you how to setup my Student Tracker System, or even better, give you the blueprint to create your own Student Tracker System! So, if you haven’t read Instead of Paying Thousands for Student Data Systems, Try This Free Option Instead read it, and then come on back! We’ll wait for you.
Welcome back! We missed you. Before you watch this setup video, a few things I want you to keep in mind if you decide to make your own version of the Tracker System (which I hope you do):
- The more you use the same rubric throughout the year, the more valuable this system becomes.
- The secret sauce is using the Student Tracker Formula to pull individual student data from the whole class data you collected with your Google Form rubric to their own, private sheet.
- Make your life easier by creating a Heat map on both the whole class database and the individual student sheets. Heat maps are a great way to get information at a glance. Use conditional formatting in Sheets to set the top of your grading scale to green and the bottom to red using Sheets (somewhat) new color scale formatting.
- Let the whole class database guide your instruction. If you see a whole lot of yellows and reds in a particular area, say thesis, you know what you need to teach next class. If you see all greens in an area, you know your students get it and you can move on.
- If you have older students, let the individual Student tracker sheet guide student-led conferences. I made time for my students by blending my classroom. Kids learned online, at their own pace, with me in the room for support. I took this time to work with every kid individually. I would talk to my kids at least once a week. Sometimes we’d start by pulling up the tracker and I’d ask a kid, what do you see? What do you need to work on? Keep notes about what your students say and revisit the conversation next week.
- If you have younger students, you can still let them lead conferences, but feel free to share the sheets with parents. As I mention in the video, with younger kids I’ve even used Form Mule to automatically generate an email home when a new piece of data, say daily behavior, was submitted to the student’s individual Student Tracker Sheet.
- Use the whole class data to assess yourself as a teacher. Could they all be doing so poorly in an area because I didn’t have the best lesson or explain a topic well enough? Absolutely. It’s happened to me and by assessing the whole class data, it made be a better teacher by forcing me to reexamine my lessons. Use the data as a reflective piece on your own teaching.
- This system is great for SGOs, PDPs, and all the other alphabet soup that requires us to show student growth over time.
- Pass this data on to your kids teacher next year, or at least write up a little report about what you learned from the data for their new teacher. This is super useful if you teach the little guys and are analyzing things like reading stamina or behavior. Share with guidance counselors, too, while you’re at it.
- Don’t just think you are the only one that can use the rubric. As mentioned in the edSurge article, I had Student Tracker Systems where I was filling out the rubric, students were filling out the rubric, and their peers were filling out the rubric about them. All these methods have their own value in helping students grow.
That’s it! Again, here is the link to the folder where you can play around and below is the video where I talk about the system and the power of data driven instruction. If you develop your own system, please tell me about it and share it with the world! I’ll even put it up on my blog so others can try your system, too!
GLHF and love data.