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Real Data – Let’s Improve Learning

Nikki Ellwood, Director of Teaching and Learning, Colegio Maya, Guatemala

On November 6th and 7th Colegio Maya, Guatemala was proud to host the Real Data – Let’s Improve Learning workshop, facilitated by Jennifer Sikes. Twenty-eight teachers and administrators from six different schools congregated with one objective in mind – to implement a sensible approach to data designed instruction.


We started by taking stock of the range and variety of data being collected in our schools, from the more informal, observational types of data collected relating to our youngest children, to the more formal, sometimes external and less frequent data being collected from our older students. I think we were all surprised to see just how much data is being collected, which made our desire to use it even stronger.

Our challenge was then to take this inventory and begin to find a way and find a practical approach to using it to guide our instructional practices. Together, we worked through the Data Meeting Cycle, as outlined in “How Teachers Can Turn Data Into Action”, by Daniel R. Venables.


By exploring this practical approach using real data from our own schools we were able to build our own capacity for analyzing specific data pieces and using these to develop instructional goals and action plans. We considered potential pitfalls and cautions in relation to implementing the system and discussed protocols that could be used to avoid them. We created timelines for implementation of data cycles at our own schools and promised to continue our data dialogues within the professional network we had developed over the two days. At Colegio Maya we now have a group of twelve teachers who will be piloting the data cycle model during semester two, with the aim of rolling it out more widely during 2018/19.

Using the data we collect in our schools in a way that really improves student learning will be an ongoing challenge for all of us, but it was great to be presented with a practical and manageable approach to really using our data in a meaningful way during this workshop. Jennifer’s down to earth, flexible, open and honest approach to facilitating this workshop was appreciated by all, leaving us excited and prepared to move beyond analysis and start taking action with our data.

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