![alt text](/filestore/BlogImage/0475e112-703c-451a-abd5-c428a43d2612/399b165e-d0d6-4f40-812e-8d7e31894035BlogHeader_UseofData.jpg "Collecting classroom data") Based on Evidence Effective Use of Data webinar from 16/06/2022. Watch [here](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbtB65WfQKw). Classroom data is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, data can inform our teaching and interventions, helping students to progress in a more efficient way. On the other hand, collecting student data, whether that be via marking, question level analysis, or even just getting round to speak to all students in your class, can be difficult and workload heavy. With student data, the juice has got to be worth the squeeze. In this article, based on our most recent webinar [Evidencing Effective Use of Data](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbtB65WfQKw), we explore what forms classroom data can take, how best to collect it and the ways in which we can reduce the burden of classroom data without the loss of pupil progression. ## What is classroom data? Classroom data is information gathered in lessons about students and their learning that can then be used to improve teaching and learning. It can take a few different forms and can be gathered in different ways. ### Formative assessment Formative assessment occurs throughout a lesson. Teachers provide regular opportunities to collect formative assessment data during a lesson to inform their teaching, both within that lesson and beyond. Formative assessment helps ensure misconceptions are minimised, and has the potential to have a huge impact on students’ learning. ### Summative assessment Summative assessments are more formal methods of assessment that take place at key points throughout the year. They commonly occur at the end of a unit of learning, at the beginning or end of a term, or even at the end of several years of education, for example, GCSEs or SATs. ### Observational data ‘You know your students better than anybody.’ I bet you’ve heard that said at least a few times during your career - this pretty much sums up observational data. You can see when a student has a what-on-earth-is-she-on-about look on their face, or when a student is quiet, or they’re flicking Blu Tac about. Or they’re beavering away answering all the questions you set and have a beaming smile when they present you with their completed work. All of that is observational data - it’s behaviours that you have noticed in the classroom. This data can be somewhat subjective, which is why it’s important to have summative and formative data as well. ## What is the importance of data in the classroom? Data informs everything in the classroom, from what to teach next, to interventions, to which approach would best suit which student. It can be used beyond the classroom, too. Data might influence policy at a school or MAT-wide level. For schools and subjects that set students, data informs this decision. It might also inform conversations between colleagues and parents. Schools and teachers who are data-driven ensure teaching and learning is adaptive, personalised and ultimately, effective. ## 7 ways to collect classroom data There are many ways to collect data in a classroom. Some methods work better for in-lesson decisions, some have more wide-reaching effects. Below is a list of some of the ways you can collect data in the classroom. ### 1. Observations Take time to look around the classroom and make note of behaviour and engagement. This is commonly second nature to teachers. However, it’s sometimes worth making a more conscious effort with this; if you have permission and the equipment to do so, why not record your lesson and make observations from outside of the lesson? Okay, it’s a bit cringe, but you might learn something completely unexpected about your own teaching or about the students in front of you. Test your biases by doing a lesson observation on your own lesson. ### 2. Quizzes Quizzes are a great, low stakes way of seeing where your students are at. They’re great for adding a competitive nature to proceedings and you can save time with marking by incorporating peer marking. They also provide students with feedback on how they’re doing and where they might have knowledge gaps. ____ **Related content:** [Two fantastic ways for teacher feedback to improve pupil learning](https://www.lbq.org/Blog/teacher-feedback-improve-pupil-learning) [7 easy ways to improve pupil progress that you can use in your classroom today](https://www.lbq.org/Blog/improve-pupil-progress-classroom) [13 ideas for teaching wellbeing and self-care](https://www.lbq.org/Blog/teacher-wellbeing-and-self-care) [LbQ: Bringing the sunshine to Ecology](https://www.lbq.org/Blog/ecology-resources) ___ ###3. Questioning Questioning is key to garnering a student’s understanding of something. A great tip for questioning is considering the questions you will ask particular students before you go into the lesson. Make it part of your lesson planning and consider a [question matrix](https://www.teachertoolkit.co.uk/2015/03/28/the-question-matrix/) to ensure the right level of difficulty for each student. [Sec-Ed has a great blog that explores effective questioning](https://www.sec-ed.co.uk/best-practice/effective-classroom-questioning-strategies/) if you want to scrub up your technique. ###4. Exit question/slips The teacher poses a question and students write their reply on an exit slip. With the right question, they’re a great way to assess students’ understanding at the end of a lesson. They’re particularly useful if you’re tight on time in the lesson. They don’t involve marking and they should only require a couple of minutes to fill out. ###5. Mini whiteboards or traffic lights An oldie but a goodie! Children can write their answers on a mini-whiteboard, or demonstrate to what extent they understand using traffic light boards (usually found in homework diaries) and then hold them up for you to do a quick scan. It’s a really quick, low-workload method of collecting data. ###6. Homework/classwork marks The marks a student gets in classwork or in homework can be a good indicator of the level of understanding. It’s not quite question level analysis - you don’t get the nitty gritty. But you can get a fair idea of the level of understanding a student has got from the lesson. ###7. Tests and exams More formal tests and exams are a great way of gathering data on students’ learning. The more formal approach ensures the data is accurate and based solely on the student’s ability. Summative assessments also mean you’re able to do question level analysis, which makes it a more in-depth view of your students’ learning. You get a clear picture of which questions/topics have stumped which students - or even which classes if done at a department-wide level. This depth of information can help spread good practice across a department…valuable stuff! The big problem with summative assessment, however, is that it comes with a big workload of marking. It also means that misconceptions can’t be challenged at the point of learning and they might only be addressed a few days or even a week later. ## Collecting classroom data: is it worth a teacher’s time? Teachers’ time vs pupil progress. Obviously pupil progress wins. That is, until the time it takes to collect data encroaches on a teacher’s personal life, which it so commonly does. Despite this encroachment, many teachers prioritise pupil progress, leading to enormous workloads. But it doesn’t have to be like this. There is a way to maintain manageable workloads whilst collecting classroom data that can be used to improve teaching and learning in the long and short term. ## Using Learning by Questions to collect data Learning by Questions is about learning; it was created to help students learn in the classroom. But a happy by-product of using Learning by Questions is the data that is created. ### Data in the lesson The Learning by Questions teacher matrix provides teachers with data that they can use within the lesson. Red, green and amber indicators highlight to teachers where there is a need to intervene. Teachers can see individual, group and class-wide misconceptions in the moment, rather than later when marking books. They can use the information to intervene with the children who need it most. ###Data over time The data collected in the lesson can then be used to demonstrate progression over time. Aggregated data from individual lessons can be used to inform future planning, setting and conversations with colleagues, Ofsted and parents. ###Reduced workload The marking is done for you and a question level analysis is provided every time. Low-stakes questions with teacher-written feedback are given to the students, and teachers are provided with the information they need to intervene in the moment. Interested? [Try LbQ for free today](https://www.lbq.org/TryLbQ).