Data-Driven Instruction in Mapleton

Data is key for Mapleton teachers


The use of data to drive understanding, action and results is nothing new. Data allows you to examine a situation from every angle, giving you the opportunity to craft and execute a well-thought-out plan based on the information received.


So, what happens when data is incorporated into the classroom? Can using Data-Driven Instruction as an educational method support teachers’ instruction by helping them to know more about how and what their students are learning? In Mapleton, the clear answer is yes!  


Data-Driven Instruction, or DDI, is an educational approach that relies on information to inform teaching and learning. Mapleton is currently in its second year of district wide DDI implementation, but several teachers and schools have previously used this process for years as best practice.


But how exactly do Mapleton teachers use DDI?


“When using data to drive instruction, teachers are analyzing students thinking, processing and understanding of concepts and standards,” said Karla Allenbach, Deputy Superintendent, School improvement and Leadership Development. “During regular and frequently scheduled collaborative planning times, teachers will review a common student work product looking for evidence of the student demonstrating understanding of a specific concept/standard.”


To start the DDI process, teachers first identify what is important for students to know and understand about a specific standard. Next, teachers identify what students should be able to show when they have mastered that standard.


“In schools, these are called "Know/Show Charts,” said Allenbach. “Teachers will next identify what skills students are missing and plan instructional activities to re-teach the skill to students to ultimately support student mastery of the standard. This process takes place in most of our schools on a weekly basis.”


The use of DDI in classrooms allows teachers to pinpoint specific areas of instruction they should focus on for an individual student to be successful.


“This process prioritizes student learning as the main focus for schools and classrooms,” said Allenbach. “We need to clearly define what they must learn and are able to do; set clear progress points they'll need to meet along the way; and keep an eye on other signs that show whether they're learning so we can make instructional adjustments sooner rather than later if they aren't,” said Allenbach.


Academy High School incorporated DDI into their classrooms a few years ago and has not looked back since.


“Data-Driven Instruction provides students the success criteria in which grade level proficiency is measured, through the lens of the teaching learning cycle,” said Ron Salazar, Director of Academy High School. “It provides teachers the foundational knowledge to plan, select, implement, analyze and adjust instruction to meet the needs of all students.”


The major benefit of Data-Driven Instruction is that student success is not based on guessing what students know.


“The process provides success criteria that is standards-based and grade level appropriate,” said Salazar. “If a student has not reached proficiency based on the success criteria, the teacher knows they need to re-teach the lesson in order to fill the instructional or skill gaps the student may be experiencing. It also allows teachers to become the expert on the standards they are teaching and students to be the recipients of that knowledge through rigorous learning that assesses their proficiency on the standard through success criteria,” said Salazar.


Families looking to learn more about the use of DDI in their child’s classroom should contact their child’s teacher or school director.


“A quote that resonates with me from the author of the book Driven by Data 2.0 Paul Bambric-Santoyo is: "If there's teaching going on, but the students aren't learning, is it really teaching?" This quote highlights why this process is so important, and is what data driven instruction is all about; student learning to ensure standards mastery,” Allenbach said.