NEW REPORT   
Teachers Know Best
: What Educators Want From Digital Instructional Tools 2.0
Ddi assess

Teachers are trying to review the depth of understanding across their whole class

91% of teachers find it very or extremely important that digital tools help them see how their whole class is doing

Teachers need tools that

Simplify Data Management

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The Challenge Today

Manually prepping data for analysis means less time to creatively plan and teach.

It's just annoying and time consuming. It's not difficult to put the data in, but just doing the gradebook, that's an hour of time that I need to take those scores and put them over here. I could be using that time to plan a lesson. Jonathan | Middle School History | Chicago, IL

The Opportunity

Drastically reduce the number of steps teachers need to prepare data for analysis so they can pull implications from data rather than merely manipulating it.

Thought Starters

How might we

  • Remove the need to ever ‘transfer’ data
  • Provide seamless, batch data entry
  • Minimize the time it takes for teachers to compile and flexibly compare data from different data sets
  • Anticipate the ways teachers want data sorted
  • Allow teachers to sort data on the fly
  • Ensure data brings a picture of the class/student to the foreground and puts the organization of that data in the background

Teachers need tools that

View Students Holistically

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The Challenge Today

Teachers recognize that understanding who students are outside of their specific class enables finer tuned instruction but siloed data makes holistic views of kids difficult to compile.

You have the data point but you don’t have the story behind the data point. Having a system where you don’t just have the flag that says a student missed x days of school in two weeks, but also the social worker saying ‘met with student and this is what’s going on at home’. Having all that in one place, which we’re starting to do, has been super helpful. Ami | Curriculum Director | Chicago, IL

The Opportunity

Connect data from sources across a student’s academic, social, and cultural experience so teachers can gain a complete picture of student performance.

Thought Starters

How might we

  • Scan an entire class for issues and have the ability to dig deeper into their possible academic and social causes
  • ‘Scale the water cooler’ by capturing anecdotal conversation teachers are having about students
  • Facilitate collaboration and communication between case workers, tutors, counselors and teachers to support students in the classroom
  • Enable collaborative interventions before significant problems arise

Teachers need tools that

Assess Student Agency

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The Challenge Today

Tracking only academic performance deprioritizes critical skills such as student agency, grit, and perseverance.

When you look at the test score, yes it’s an indicator of where the child was at that moment. But the test score is not the full picture. I have to see their work ethic. I have to see what they do in the classroom, in front of me. LaTangela | Middle School Science | Chicago

The Opportunity

Combine assessments of skills like grit, self confidence, and persistence with performance data to support more nuanced approaches to adapting instruction to student needs.

Thought Starters

How might we

  • Record quick, anecdotal observations and aggregate them for pattern recognition
  • Give students visibility into the dual importance of life skills and academics
  • Create dynamic student profiles that change as their interests and capacities change
  • Combine academic and non-academic data sets
  • Leverage data students are generating outside the classroom to help teachers assess life skills

Teachers need tools that

Empower Students with Data

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The Challenge Today

Data is usually only visible to teachers, depriving them of a key ally in improving learning: their students.

When students see the big picture and they see how it aligns, they’re much more invested in it. And it doesn’t feel magical to have some teacher giving them arbitrary grades. I want students to be driving the class always, and dragging me with them and saying “we want to learn more about this next.” That’s where I hope we’re going. Jessica | Middle School ELA | Sunnyvale, CA

The Opportunity

Provide students with a clear, legible view into what they’ve mastered and what they haven’t mastered in order to instill a sense of productive urgency and curiosity.

Thought Starters

How might we

  • Make learning paths - where we’ve been and where we’re headed - visible and legible to students
  • Allow students to map their individual goals to these learning paths and share them
  • Communicate to students the multiple trajectories their current performance may put them on depending on how they perform in the near future
  • Free teachers to be attentive to students at or below grade level by enabling their advanced students to challenge themselves with advanced content
  • Organize, and allow access, to content based on the demonstrated mastery of content rather than defaulting to grade level