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Using Assessment Data to Intensify Instruction


What would happen if educators decided to take a deeper look at their assessment data to drive future instructional lesson plans?  Students are required to take multiple assessments – both formal and informal – throughout the school year to help teachers to gauge their students’ content knowledge and the effectiveness of classroom instruction.  These assessments yield a variety of data to be disaggregated, but many teachers look only at the overall pass rate instead of individual student data to determine how to remediate areas of concern. This is very unfortunate, as disaggregating data can inform lesson planning for intentional intensive instruction for struggling learners and students with disabilities (SWD).

Analyzing individual student assessment data can give teachers a clearer view of gaps in their students’ learning and provide information on where to intensify instruction.  For example, teachers can use these data to determine what reading or math strategies to teach and to create small-group lessons.  Such targeted, planned, tiered instruction will improve academic outcomes for all students.

As teachers use data in meaningful ways, they become aware of the many opportunities there are to tap into the rich array of information that surrounds them on a daily basis.  They are able to draw from what students know and are able to do instead of marching through a prepared set of lessons that may or may not meet their students’ needs. (Sweeney, 2011)

The IRIS Center at Vanderbilt University Peabody College provides modules that are centered around this topic. These modules (Using Data-Based Individualization to Intensify Instruction), created by The National Center on Intensive Intervention at American Institutes for Research and the CEEDAR Center, are intended to assist individuals who provide intensive invention to struggling leaners and SWD.  Modules provide information on how to disaggregate data and how to plan and implement lessons. All students deserve multiple opportunities to learn difficult content and skills.  Using data to intentionally plan lessons that target an individual student’s needs is one way to intensify instruction within the classroom.

For more information about the process of using assessments to inform instruction, visit the following websites:


Sweeney, D. (2011). Student-centered coaching: A guide for K-8 coaches and principals. Thousand Oaks, CA.

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