Call me silly, but I enjoy statistics. I use it often in my classroom. I find that it is a powerful teaching tool, and it helps me get a better idea of what my class understands.

After every test, I analyze data to determine if I need to reteach, teach certain academic vocabulary, and/or teach test taking skills. I also use it to identify which students need extra support or intervention.

First, I make a list of the problems by number and I tally the number of incorrect answers. Problems that a lot of students missed get a closer look. Was it a fair question? Did they miss it because they didn’t read the directions? Did they miss it because they didn’t understand vocabulary? Did they make silly mistakes or are they not able to apply the skill being tested?

Here’s an example of our first Math test on place value. There were four standards being assessed: reading and writing whole numbers to the billions, reading and writing decimals to the thousandths, ordering and comparing whole numbers, and ordering and comparing decimals.

Next, I make a note of students that need extra support on each standard, and I create a line plot for each standard. This gives the class and I a nice visual of how they did. When I share the data with my class, we determine the range, median, mode, and mean together. Then we discuss what the data means when applied to our learning.

My students also write reflections on their test performance and graph their results. They keep their reflections and graphs in a data binder.