What the Data Can't Tell Us

May 20, 2017

Our jobs include a lot of data.  It has certainly helped me to move my students along this year.  Analyzing, regrouping, reteaching, and providing interventions is what I do.  I love it.  And the growth that I have witnessed this year has been amazing.

And I hear often, "the data doesn't lie."  But it can't tell the whole story.

In a time when data is being collected, shared, filed away, and scrutinized, I must remember that there is so much that the data does not and just cannot tell me. 

Did you know that we had a student this year that said she "could not read" every time a book was set in front of her?  Now...she tells you that she can read.

A student joined my class this year that could speak absolutely no English.  Now he is making comparisons between texts he is reading in class and sharing stories with us.

This year I had students literally cheering when I would pull out a new LLI book.

When students completed their LLI intervention, they were so upset that they no longer got  to come to their "book club" each day.

So one student started her own during recess.

Yes...there were days that I could not make it out to open up the Readbox after school.  And students would be upset with me!  They want more books!

Did you know that we had a student writing only beginning sounds for his stories, but he is leaving first grade writing full stories with a hook, details, and closure!

Several students discovered "Who Would Win" books!  And are desperately waiting for more to be published.

And others found a love for Iza Trapani nursery rhyme books.

This list is only a slight glimpse into the daily "successes" that we get the opportunity to witness.  Some are big and some couldn't be seen without the trained eye of a primary teacher but ALL are important when you are trying to build lifelong learners.



  1. I super love your list of successes. What a great feeling to end the school year and see the data and what the data doesn't say. I'm gonna read this again and again. :-) You are inspiring me to make a list of successes that I saw this year...


  2. Thank you for the reminder. Regie Routman says that celebration is at the heart of her best teaching. You've just spelled out several reasons for celebration, and like you said, data can only tell us so much.


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