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Gathering and using evidence for learning

Three teachers sitting together at a table.

The collection and analysis of high quality evidence is an essential component in the ongoing cycle of inquiry that is central to improving teaching and learning. 

Understanding and managing the range of information that counts as evidence of student learning and achievement can be daunting, and it requires teachers and school leaders to be confident in their assessment literacy.

Using evidence for learning process flow

Using evidence for learning process flow Gathering evidence Working with data Target setting Reading and analysing data Assessment tool selector What next

This section aims to cover the understandings and skills educators need in order to:

  • gather dependable information about the progression of a student's (or group of students') learning
  • accurately aggregate and present information in order for it to be easily understood
  • interpret and evaluate information for individuals and groups of students in order to decide on what to do next to support progress
  • present and share information to build partnerships for learning (with parents, whānau, colleagues, boards)
  • set challenging but achievable targets for improved student achievement.

Further reading

Using Evidence in the Classroom for Professional Learning is a paper presented by Helen Timperley to the Ontario Education Research Symposium. It focuses on evidence-based inquiry by teachers and school leaders. School leaders and teachers could use this 10-page paper to facilitate professional conversations around the use of evidence and its implications on teacher and leadership practice. It also provides an easy-to-read introduction to the notion of "teaching as inquiry".

This article, Using Data: Transforming Potential into Practice, combines research insights and practical strategies for school and system leaders to  build their capacity to gather, analyse, interpret and use data to support improvement. It comes from Ideas into Action for school and system leaders, Ontario Leadership Strategy, Bulletin 5, 2011. Ontario Ministry of Education. A comprehensive overview of the article, reflective questions and links to the series of papers can be found on the Educational Leaders website.

The Educational Leaders website has several articles and sabbatical reports concerned with assessment and data.