Data Driven Instruction: Definition and 11 Strategies (2023)

It’s all about the data.

In your school, there is a lot of data to be managed. There’s information about staff, curriculum, students and their families, tests, exams, regulations, budget, payments,teacher evaluations, events…

Getting a headache just thinking about it?

With all that data floating around your school, the idea ofdata driven instructionmay seem overwhelming.

After all, capturing, understanding, and putting to work information about your students takes time.

The idea of data driven instruction isn’t new. But, how exactly does it work? What actionable steps can you take to make sure teachers are working well with data driven instruction?

First, let’s discusswhat’s involved in data driven instruction. Then, we’ll reveal11 steps you can take todayto build a culture of data driven instruction in your school.

Plus, we've put together adownloadable list of the 11 stepsthat you can keep at your desk!

What is data driven instruction?

In short, data driven instruction involves gathering together a database of information about the students in each classroom, and using that information to improve the quality of teaching in the classroom.

While much of this work is done by the teachers themselves,it’s up to school leadership to build a culture of data driven instruction.

Every classroom is full of students with their own needs, abilities, and levels of understanding. Data driven instruction aims to take all of this information into account when building curriculums, or even directly when teaching in the classroom.

There are three main steps involved in data driven instruction:

  • Data collection: Gather information from class assessments and standardized test results, as well as observations from the teacher, and create a database on information.
  • Data analysis: Separate essential information from non-essential information. Watch for patterns and dive into the reasons behind these results. Draw conclusions and formulate teaching plans.
  • Action: Congratulate your class and move to the next topic, or prepare time to re-teach certain ideas to the class.

Going deeper than the "what"

Data Driven Instruction: Definition and 11 Strategies (1)

Until now, many schools have taken data driven instruction to mean building up a database of what the students know and what they don’t know.

However, to truly benefit the students in your school, you need to understand more than just the "whats".

Exam scores and standardized test results only tell you the knowledge level of the students. You’ll need to dig deeper to understand the "why" and "how" of the situation.

For example, imagine that the majority of one science class doesn’t have the required knowledge to pass the standardized test. The ‘what’ is clear: they lack equivalent understanding of the subject.

Now, it’s time to figure out the "why" and "how".

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So, why did these students miss key information taught in the class? Is there some sort of distraction that can be minimized? Did the way the information was presented have an effect on their understanding?

Then, how can these students be re-taught in such a way that the information sticks? If they clearly understood other topics that were taught during the same semester, how did they learn those topics? How can you apply the same principles to re-teach the information they didn’t learn?

Gathering the necessary data to answer the "what", "why", and "how" is the basis for data driven instruction.

So, what strategies will help you develop your school’s data culture?

11 strategies to build a culture of data driven instruction in your school

1. Involve teachers in the process

While you as the school leader are setting the groundwork for data driven instruction, it’s the teachers that will have to do most of the heavy lifting.

That’s why it’s important for teachers to be involved in the process of creating and building your data driven culture.

There’s a lot of work involved in creating actionable plans that get to the heart of student assessment and data analysis. So, involve your teachers in making these plans. Get together and set up the routines and standards that will be the basis for data driven instruction in your school.

Teacher training is also extremely important. Once you set the standards for data collection, analysis, and application, teachers need to understand exactly what that means for them in their day-to-day activities in and out of the classroom.

So,train teachers to quickly analyze data and draw conclusions that spark action, thus helping them implement a data driven instruction policy.

2. Slowly scale your efforts

Diving into data collection and analysis for every class in your entire school may seem daunting.

That’s because it’s too much work.

Instead of the ‘all-or-nothing’ approach, try tostart with just one class.

Gather data on student knowledge levels, and how they learn. With the goal of starting small, build a process that makes data easy to collect and translate into action.

For example, have teachers track the number of times students ask for clarification on a topic in the classroom, as well as whatteaching strategiesthey were using at the time. This data can be easily translated into an action: remove teaching methods that don’t present the information clearly.

Once you start to see results in one or two classrooms, you can start to expand the same methods of data collection and application to the rest of the school.

3. Set the right standards for assessments

Data Driven Instruction: Definition and 11 Strategies (2)

Don’t spread yourself too thin. There are plenty of things that students ‘should’ be learning. And teachers may have their own ideas of what is important information in a lesson plan.

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However,to have definite, stable results in data driven instruction, you need to define the standards of assessment.

That means taking each unit and answering the following questions:

  • What information is vital for students to learn?
  • What will they need to know and understand in order to pass SATs or other important exams?
  • What information would absolutely need to be re-taught if students hadn’t mastered it by a certain time?

Once these standards are in place, it’s easier for teachers and students to work towards solid learning goals, and to collect the necessary data for better teaching.

4. Build routines for interim assessments

Whilesummative assessmentsare important, never forget that learning is an ongoing process. If a number of students never mastered a topic that was covered at the beginning of the school year, it would be easier to address the problem earlier than in the weeks before the summer break.

So, work with the teachers at your school to build a system forinterim (or formative) assessments.

First, take the standards that you set above. Then, divide the main topics throughout the school year.

For example, let’s say an English class must master the topic of sentence structure by the end of the semester. So, take that topic and divide it into its main parts. What is the goal date for students to master an understanding of adjectives, verbs, subjects, and objects? When do they need to understand the placement of all these parts in the sentence?

Then, based on these main parts of the essential topic, set dates for interim assessments. Whether it’s through tests, team projects, essays, etc., students must be able to demonstrate mastery of the topic in question.

These interim assessments will help teachers plan for the needs of each student, giving them time to re-teach essential ideas while the topic is still in their mind, rather than weeks or months later.

5. Collect only the data you need

Part of the reason that data driven instruction is so daunting is that there is just so. Much. Data.

Implementing a successful strategy involves thinning down the data only to what is necessary.

Obviously, the teachers in your school have plenty on their plate already: don’t add wading through excessive data to their workload.

Instead,make sure that your data collection processes center on information that is essential.While making sure that your assessments are standardized is important, as discussed above, another way to do this would be giving teachers specific guidelines on how to collect and analyze student data.

That way, all the teachers involved are collecting only necessary data, and the time they spend on analyzing that data is more focused on what’s really important.

6. Set goals that are visible for students

Data Driven Instruction: Definition and 11 Strategies (3)

The teachers aren’t the only ones involved in collecting and analyzing student data: the students can also get involved!

After all, the endgame of data driven instruction is to help students reach educational goals. So, show them how they’re doing with those goals!

This can be done by creating visual goals and allowing students to measure their own progress. Help teachers plan time for student self-analysis. Give kids the opportunity to look back on their work, see what they’ve accomplished and develop agrowth mindset.

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To make this strategy really stand out, make the progress visual.

For example, when coming to the end of a unit, teachers can use classroom response systems (or ‘clickers’) to get a fast overview of how much the class understands of the topic. These fun, interactive tests allow all students (even the really shy ones in the back) to participate.

At the end of the test, most clicker systems produce a bar chart that displays how many students chose each answer choice. This gives students and teachers an easy view of the progress they’ve made, or where they’re still lacking.

7. Use EdTech that displays learning progress for students

It’s no secret that ed-tech is making strides in the classroom.

But did you know it can actually help you (and your teachers) to implement data driven instruction?

In fact,75% of teachersidentify data driven instruction as a top trend for EdTech.

Data Driven Instruction: Definition and 11 Strategies (4)

That’s up from just 28% in 2017.

Why the increase? Because most ed-tech programs take advantage of the answers provided by students to give teachers clear data about what’s going on in their classroom.

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Data Driven Instruction: Definition and 11 Strategies (5)

You’ll be able to find easy-to-read reports that detail exactly what skills students have mastered, as well as which ones they’re weak in. This makes data analyzation even easier, since the information has already been collected and organized. Teachers can then make informed decisions that help the whole classroom learn better.

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8. Build a schedule for data analysis

Data Driven Instruction: Definition and 11 Strategies (6)

It’s time to give your teachers guidelines for analyzing data.

For example, instead of asking teachers to write out their conclusions after reading through the data,create a uniform process for data analyzation. You could do this by creating reports with short, specific questions that teachers must answer on a scale of 1-10 based on the data they’ve collected.

  • What kind of mastery does the class (or student) have in this topic?
  • How prepared is the class to answer questions about this topic on a standardized test?
  • Can the class explain with ease their understanding of this topic?

Then, teachers can list specific knowledge gaps or weaknesses that they’ve seen in either individual students or the class as a whole.

Next, they’ll need to analyze the data collected about teaching methods. Using the same 1-10 scale, they can rate the different teaching methods they used by how well the class responded to them.

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Lastly, teachers should list at least 3 actions they plan to take in order to improve their teaching for the next unit. This could include re-teaching certain topics, or changing up their in-classroom methods to make the information stick better.

Now, you need to build a schedule for your teachers to analyze that data.

Some schoolsset specific time in the schedule of the teachersto analyze the data they’ve collected. Ideally, this would be soon after assessments are made.

Having a clear process and schedule helps teachers and school leaders to keep a handle on student progress.

9. Encourage teachers to collaborate with each other

Data Driven Instruction: Definition and 11 Strategies (7)

When it comes to data analyzation, teachers should know that they don’t have to go it alone. When scheduling time for data analyzation, encourage teachers to work together to get through the data they’ve collected.

This method helps both teachers and students to reap the benefits of data driven instruction. They say two work better than one, and this is a prime example: two or more teachers working together to understand the data they’ve collected and brainstorm ideas of how to proceed.

Teacher collaboration is also a form of professional development. Teachers will learn valuable skills from each other, and build off of each other’s ideas to create an even better learning experience in the classroom.

10. Review the effects of re-teaching

Data Driven Instruction: Definition and 11 Strategies (8)

So, after assessment, a class needed re-teaching of an essential topic. Instead of just going through the information again and moving on, it’s important that teachers revisit their assessments to ensure that students are really getting the sense of the information.

Using clicker tests as mentioned above is a great way to get a fast overview of the class’s overall understanding of a topic. This method won’t take a lot of time, and allows teachers to see immediate feedback on whether the re-teaching had the desired effect.

11. Chart the progress of your school as a whole

Once your data driven instruction plan is in place, it will be interesting to watch what a difference it makes in your classrooms.

So, make sure to record a baseline from the starting point. Store those first classroom assessments and the analysis that teachers took away from the data they collected.

This will allow you to see the incredible results that data driven instruction brings. As an example, theNew Mexico School for the Artsused data driven instruction principles to increase their proficiency on PARCC math tests from 29 to 40 percent, and on PARCC English language arts from 80 to 87 percent.

Conclusion: Give your school the advantage of data driven instruction

Using data to improve learning experiences in your school is the way of the future. Teachers need to know what’s going on in their students’ heads in order to help them, and you need to understand what’s happening in classrooms in order to better direct your school.

Remember, data driven instruction involves three essential steps:

  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Action

By deciding on standards and providing guidelines to teachers, you’ll help build a culture of data driven instruction in your school.

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What are the 7 instructional strategies? ›

To improve students' reading comprehension, teachers should introduce the seven cognitive strategies of effective readers: activating, inferring, monitoring-clarifying, questioning, searching-selecting, summarizing, and visualizing-organizing.

What are the 5 instructional strategies? ›

Consider the five categories of instructional strategies (direct, indirect, experiential, independent and interactive).

What are the four 4 types of instructional methods? ›

Do you know what the four types of instructional methods are? The four types are information processing, behavioral, social interaction, and personal. Within each model, several strategies can be used.

What are instructional methods and strategies? ›

Instructional strategies are techniques teachers use to help students become independent, strategic learners. These strategies become learning strategies when students independently select the appropriate ones and use them effectively to accomplish tasks or meet goals.

What are interactive teaching strategies? ›

5 interactive teaching styles that make a difference
  • Structured and unstructured.
  • Reverse or negative thinking.
  • Nominal group relationships.
  • Online interaction such as chat, forums and email.
  • Team-idea mapping.
  • Group passing.
  • Individual brainstorming.
6 Apr 2018

What are the 5 benefits of inquiry based learning? ›

5 Benefits of Inquiry-Based Learning
  • It nurtures passions and talents. ...
  • It increases their motivation and engagement. ...
  • It allows them to develop research skills. ...
  • It fortifies the importance of asking questions. ...
  • It allows children to take ownership of their education.
15 Mar 2018

What is another name for direct instruction? ›

Currently, many state departments of education and school districts refer to direct instruction or synonyms such as direct teaching or explicit instruction.

What are direct and indirect teaching strategies? ›

Differences between the direct teaching method and the indirect teaching method
Oral communication basedShowing material based
Explicit, clear mannerWritten instructions
Maybe a worksheet or a quizOnline essays

Which of the following instructional strategies is used during indirect instruction? ›

In contrast to the direct instruction strategy, indirect instruction is mainly student-centered, although the two strategies can complement each other. Examples of indirect instruction methods include reflective discussion, concept formation, concept attainment, cloze procedure, problem solving, and guided inquiry.

What is direct instruction model of teaching? ›

What is DI? Direct Instruction (DI) is a model for teaching that emphasizes well-developed and carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments and clearly defined and prescribed teaching tasks.

What are the 7 strategies of reading? ›

The seven strategies of highly skilled readers include activating, summarizing, monitoring and clarifying, visualizing and organizing, searching and selecting, questioning, and inferring.

What are the 6 basic strategies for developing literacy? ›

The six basic strategies for developing literacy include making connections, visualizing, questioning, inferring, determining importance, and synthesizing.

What does KWL strategies stand for? ›

KWL, an acronym for Know, Want-to-know, and Learned, is an effective way to read with purpose. KWL is easy to apply and can lead to significant improvement in your ability to learn efficiently and to retain what you have learned.

What are the 3 main type of reading strategies? ›

There are three different styles of reading academic texts: skimming, scanning, and in-depth reading. Each is used for a specific purpose.

What is an example of an instructional strategy? ›

Modern training models of instructional design seek to be engaging and effective at embedding and retaining knowledge through blended learning. Examples include microlearning, online learning, and spaced repetition.

What is instructional strategy PDF? ›

Instructional strategies include. activities that help create the classroom environment for good-quality learning to. occur. These activities should consider instructional goals as well as the content of. the curriculum.

What are the classification of instructional methods? ›

Instructional strategies are classified in direct instruction, indirect instruction, interactive instruction, individual study, and experiential learning, as previously presented ( Figure 5).

What learning strategies are the most effective? ›

Top 10 Most Effective Learning Strategies
  1. Practice testing. The most effective strategy according to Dunlosky's research is practice testing.
  2. Distributed practice. ...
  3. Interleaved practice. ...
  4. Elaborative interrogation. ...
  5. Self-explanation. ...
  6. Rereading. ...
  7. Highlighting. ...
  8. Summarisation. ...
8 Oct 2018

What are learning strategies for students? ›

Learning Skills Advisors can help students develop strategies for:
  • reading and comprehending text.
  • studying and remembering information.
  • writing and taking notes.
  • improving assignment and test performance.
  • effectively interacting with others.
  • motivation.
  • problem-solving.
  • time management and organization.

What are examples of learner centered instructional strategies? ›

Here are some practical ideas for incorporating learner-centered activities into your corporate training:
  • Foster collaboration with group projects. ...
  • Let learners develop content. ...
  • Stage presentations. ...
  • Hold a competition. ...
  • Hold a debate. ...
  • Gamify learning. ...
  • Pose a problem. ...
  • Do role-play.
26 Sept 2019

Why strategies in teaching is important? ›

Strategies help students begin to understand the process of learning. Strategies help students to bypass their areas of weakness and to perform at the level at which they are capable. Strategies promote flexible thinking and teach students the importance of shifting their approaches to different tasks.

What is a learning strategy? ›

More specifically, a learning strategy is an individual's way of organizing and using a particular set of skills in order to learn content or accomplish other tasks more effectively and efficiently in school as well as in nonacademic settings (Schumaker & Deshler, 1992).

What are the 9 strategies for effective online teaching? ›

9 strategies for effective online teaching
  • Know the technology. ...
  • Expect the unexpected and remain flexible. ...
  • Create and maintain a strong presence. ...
  • Set clear expectations for the course. ...
  • Establish a sense of comfort and develop a community of learners.
24 Mar 2020

What are the 5 learning activities? ›

  • Content Focus (and Interaction) Whether the learning outcomes for a session or module include declarative or functioning knowledge, almost all of them will be supported in some way by the presentation of information to students. ...
  • Interactivity (with Others) Focus. ...
  • Critical Thinking. ...
  • Production. ...
  • Problem Solving. ...
  • Reflection.

Which teaching strategies will best facilitate my students learning? ›

Strategies for Teaching
  • Active Learning. ...
  • Using the Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) Classroom for Courses that Emphasize Problem-Solving. ...
  • Effective Class Discussions. ...
  • Case-Based Learning. ...
  • Digital Learning. ...
  • Effective Lecturing. ...
  • Team-Based Learning. ...
  • Flipped Classroom.

Why is direct instruction important? ›

Direct Instruction Allows for More Interaction

Lastly, direct instruction is important because it allows for more interaction. Students are able to ask more questions and request assistance. They are also able to discuss their interests, enabling me to add those to my lessons.

Who invented direct instruction? ›

Direct Instruction, or DI, was begun by Siegfried Engelmann and Wesley Becker at the University of Illinois in the 1960s.

What are the characteristics of direct instruction? ›

5 keys of direct instruction
  • Be Clear. Humans make sense out of things by learning rules that bridge understanding between concepts. ...
  • Be Efficient. Direct Instruction is designed to maintain high time on task, which increases student learning throughout the school day. ...
  • Teach to Mastery. ...
  • Beware Intuition.

What are indirect teaching strategies? ›

Indirect Instruction:
  • Completion of readings.
  • Completion of projects, papers, and presentations.
  • Interacting with peers in online discussions.
  • Interpretation of data.
  • Virtual study groups.
  • Group projects.
  • Simulations.

What is indirect method in teaching? ›

Indirect instruction is a student-centered approach to learning where students observe, investigate and draw inferences from data. In this instructional model, professors take on the role of a facilitator or supporter as opposed to offering direct instruction.

Which methods of teaching does the K to 12 curriculum use? ›

The learner is at the center of the teaching-learning process. Thus, the curriculum uses pedagogical approaches that are constructivist, inquiry-based, reflective, collaborative, differentiated, appropriate, relevant, and integrative.

What indirect instructional strategies will you use to improve learner outcomes? ›

The following are instructional strategies of the indirect model:
  • Use of advance organizers.
  • Conceptual movement—inductive and deductive.
  • Use of examples and nonexamples.
  • Use of questions to guide search and discovery.
  • Use of student ideas.
  • Student self-evaluation.
  • Use of group discussion.

What are the 5 steps of explicit instruction? ›

Explicit instruction follows a sequence of steps:
  1. Identify a clear, specific objective.
  2. Break the information into chunks.
  3. Model with clear explanations.
  4. Verbalize the thinking process.
  5. Provide opportunities to practice.
  6. Give feedback.

What's the difference between direct and explicit instruction? ›

How is Explicit Instruction different than Direct Instruction? Explicit instruction uses six key teaching functions (see page 1), whereas, Direct Instruction (DI) is most commonly a scripted program where teachers are given cues to follow throughout a lesson and students respond chorally following a teacher's signal.

What is the difference between direct instruction and guided instruction? ›

Lesson Plan Part 2 Direct Instruction versus Guided Practice - YouTube

What are the four 4 types of instructional methods? ›

Do you know what the four types of instructional methods are? The four types are information processing, behavioral, social interaction, and personal. Within each model, several strategies can be used.

What are different instructional strategies? ›

And there's no single, specific way to group them together. While the categories below are by no means exhaustive, instructional strategies often fall under general groupings. These include: active learning, assessment-based, group-based, advanced strategies, organizational (or classroom management) and tiered.

What are the 4 instructional practices in education? ›

Four practices had the biggest impact: fostering student engagement, having students participate in discussions, having fewer class period disruptions and developing a classroom climate that was conducive to instruction.

What is an effective instructional strategy? ›

Popular instructional strategies include cloze reading, cooperative learning, hands-on learning activities, scaffolding, group instruction, self-assessment, thematic instruction, and word walls.

What are the three categories of instructional strategies? ›

This list organizes instructional strategies according to three categories: Teacher Instruction, Student Practice, and Evaluation.

What are teaching/learning strategies? ›

Teaching strategies are methods and techniques that a teacher will use to support their pupils or students through the learning process; a teacher will chose the teaching strategy most suitable to the topic being studied, the level of expertise of the learner, and the stage in their learning journey.

How do you use data to drive instruction? ›

How to Use Student Data to Drive Instruction
  1. Establish Colleague and Administrator Buy-In. ...
  2. Invest in the Right Data Management Tools. ...
  3. Set Thoughtful Data Points to Track. ...
  4. Analyze the Data and Identify Gaps and Opportunities. ...
  5. Turn Data Into Action. ...
  6. Share Findings Among Educators.
11 Jun 2020

What learning strategies are the most effective? ›

Top 10 Most Effective Learning Strategies
  1. Practice testing. The most effective strategy according to Dunlosky's research is practice testing.
  2. Distributed practice. ...
  3. Interleaved practice. ...
  4. Elaborative interrogation. ...
  5. Self-explanation. ...
  6. Rereading. ...
  7. Highlighting. ...
  8. Summarisation. ...
8 Oct 2018

Why are teaching strategies important? ›

Teaching strategies play an important role in classroom instruction. Without the use of a strategy, teachers would be aimlessly projecting information that doesn't connect with learners or engage them. Strategies help learners participate, connect, and add excitement to the content being delivered.

What are examples of learner centered instructional strategies? ›

Here are some practical ideas for incorporating learner-centered activities into your corporate training:
  • Foster collaboration with group projects. ...
  • Let learners develop content. ...
  • Stage presentations. ...
  • Hold a competition. ...
  • Hold a debate. ...
  • Gamify learning. ...
  • Pose a problem. ...
  • Do role-play.
26 Sept 2019

Is scaffolding an instructional strategy? ›

Providing support, or scaffolding, is a critical component in teaching new tasks with multiple steps. Likewise, scaffolding is a critical element in the teaching of instructional strategies (see the IRIS Module SRSD: Using Learning Strategies to Enhance Student Learning).


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