Integration of Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment Indicators
It is critical for teachers to integrate both qualitative and quantitative data when conducting student assessments, and they can do it by carefully recording the results of tests and adding their analytical conclusions. For instance, when children turn in their tests, the teacher can check their answers and calculate test scores and then add comments about individual students’ opportunities for improvement, underdeveloped skills, and patterns of learning. In this case, the percentage of correctly answered questions will represent quantitative or numerical data, whereas the teacher’s comments based on observations and overall impressions from individual learners’ performance will act as qualitative or unquantifiable data.
Another way to integrate the two types of data is to make use of the portfolio approach to assessment and data collection. In education, portfolios are justly considered to be one of the best ways to take a holistic approach to student assessment and data analysis (McAfee, Leong, & Bodrova, 2016). The teacher can create an individual student’s portfolio by collecting and compiling different sources of qualitative data, including the examples of the student’s prominent works, such as compositions, self-reflection papers, art projects, research papers, and so on (McAfee et al., 2016). Other examples of unquantifiable information to be included in portfolios are the teacher’s feedback and recommendations. Regarding quantitative data, portfolios may include some evidence of progress in the form of test scores. When making conclusions regarding the student’s academic progress and development in different domains, the teacher will analyze the abovementioned materials from portfolios as a whole, thus considering quantifiable and unquantifiable information to make generalizations and communicate the results to relevant parties.
The key benefit of integrating qualitative and quantitative data into my planning and reflections on lessons is the ability to identify the entire group’s unmet learning needs without ignoring the unobvious issues affecting individual students. Quantitative data, such as formal grades and test scores, can be effectively used in planning and reflection to identify large-scale tendencies regarding the pace of knowledge acquisition and even draw comparisons between different schools to evaluate resource allocation and teaching strategies (Gullo, 2013). However, if there is nothing apart from quantitative data, one will be likely to produce generalized conclusions without conducting in-depth investigations into issues that hinder academic progress or individual concerns (Gullo, 2013). Considering this, qualitative data can support more thoughtful decision-making. For instance, qualitative observational data on my students’ disruptive classroom behaviors can point to the potential causes of the group’s underperformance that would not be clear only from test results. Therefore, the use of both qualitative and quantitative data can promote better lesson planning and instructional decisions.
Sharing Student Assessment Data
To be beneficial to students’ performance and classroom behaviors, child assessments and the approaches to reporting the results should be informed by the key ethical values in the teaching profession, including fairness and truthfulness. Reporting data from a single assessment to pupils, their parents, or other professionals might be unprofessional due to being incompatible with the aforementioned values. To start with, meaningful feedback should be specific and motivate children to continue working towards their goals (Stenger, 2014). The decisions to share data from single assessments sometimes run counter to the mentioned expectations and bring unnecessary discouragement and negative emotions.
Each student’s academic history is a sequence of highs and lows, and one’s performance is defined by numerous factors, such as emotions, physical well-being, access to resources, family circumstances, and so on. Due to these reasons, even exceptional students sometimes fail to do their best. With that in mind, the results of specific assessments can be misleading from time to time when it comes to evaluating the child’s academic performance and the key trends linked to development. Basically, the results of separate student assessments often provide insufficient evidence and incomplete information about the child’s development and attainment in studies and allow making only preliminary conclusions regarding the child’s success and potentially helpful interventions (McAfee et al., 2016). Teacher biases can also affect the results of assessments, which is why the outcomes of a single evaluation conducted by one person are not always reliable in terms of instructional decision-making (McAfee et al., 2016). Reporting the preliminary unsatisfactory or puzzling results involves the risks of putting the student’s family in fear, which is not the goal that a professional teacher should pursue.
Role of Professional Learning Societies
Professional learning communities are widely used to improve student outcomes and address difficulties related to instruction by fostering professional collaboration between teachers. To address the teacher presenting only quantitative summative assessment data to colleagues, I would collaborate with the person and explain the benefits of using both quantitative and qualitative data for decision-making and identifying children’s unmet needs and unobvious difficulties. Obviously, to get the maximum out of professional learning communities, participating teachers should present as much information about their students’ patterns of learning as possible. The reason for such measures is that having “only part of the necessary information” often hinders collaborative teams’ ability to respond to children’s needs and causes significant theoretical disagreements (McAfee et al., 2016, p. 209). Another measure that would be helpful is to encourage the teacher to use self-assessment tools for educators and identify areas for improvement, such as making and documenting observations (Hancock & Carter, 2016). Therefore, teacher education may be helpful in addressing colleagues that ignore the importance of qualitative data.
Gullo, D. F. (2013). Improving instructional practices, policies, and student outcomes for early childhood language and literacy through data-driven decision making. Early Childhood Education Journal, 41(6), 413-421.
Hancock, C. L., & Carter, D. R. (2016). The self-assessment in action – teacher feedback. Young Children, 72-73.
McAfee, O. D., Leong, D. J., & Bodrova, E. (2016). Assessing and guiding young children’s development and learning (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Stenger, M. (2014). 5 research-based tips for providing students with meaningful feedback [Blog post].