The pursuit of data underpins much of our interactions in this information-driven society. The businesses with the best grasp of data - who their customers are and what they want - are the most successful. Governments are constantly trying to gather the best data on their constituents so they can better cater to their needs in terms of informed policy - and increase their chances of being re-elected, of course. In many walks of life and in ways that impact on our lives every day, data is playing an increasing role in decision-making everywhere.
Similarly, the pursuit and use of informed data can make the difference between a good classroom and a great one. Why should teachers be left out of this equation when data is reshaping so many aspects of life in the digital age?
The effective use of data in the classroom can improve instruction and student outcomes, as teachers can better tailor for individual student needs as well as maintaining an ongoing, more accurate grasp of general classroom progress at the same time. CARS & STARS Online is fully committed to this ideal.
Better use of student data means more effectively being able to inform teaching and assessment decisions, as data-fuelled formative assessments can be used to shape instruction for individual needs during teaching, rather than simply at the end of a milestone piece of assessment. This is a cornerstone of the CARS & STARS Online program and its Pretest and Benchmark portions.
Just as the enhanced use of data can inform ongoing teaching, it can also be used to determine implementation success. In CARS & STARS Online this is most clearly expressed in the Post-test elements that enable teachers to exactly and critically engage with student learning to determine how effective instruction has been.
In this way, data-gathering and utilisation, at the forefront of modern educational practice, are also at the forefront of the CARS & STARS Online program. Ongoing, accurate and transferable data collection at every stage of instruction and assessment allows the teacher to have a total picture of their class and individual students at any time, allowing instant identification of students requiring specialised care or instruction, and making differentiation a constant and ongoing process for every class rather than an afterthought.