Instructional Response in the PLC

“We gave the assessment…and not everyone got it. Now what?”


Laying the Foundation

We’ve designed assessments, we’ve given them to our students, we have data, now what?  Now is actually the meaningful and exciting part, but is also a difficult shift for a teacher to make.  

By nature, a teacher’s work focuses on the first two questions that are essential to the PLC process (DuFour, 2004).   

  1. ‘What is it we want students to learn?’

  2.  ‘How will we know if each student has learned it?’ 

  3. How will we respond when some students do not learn it?’

  4. ‘How will we respond when some students already know it?’

But when the data comes in, we’re not always quite sure where to go next. This is where the third key question in the Professional Learning Community process comes in.

Instructional Response To Meet Mastery

If you have written assessments based on learning goals or objectives, now is when you have data collectively as a team on what percentage of students have met the level of mastery as set by the team. You can see what objectives still need work and now need to think about the instructional response. 

Here’s where it gets hard.  Now you really need to look at data by individual teachers.  All those team norms and trust building come into play.  In order to best serve the groups of students that didn’t meet or just met expectations, we need to really talk about what happened in each of our classrooms leading up to this assessment.  Maybe everyone’s students performed equally on that objective, maybe they didn’t.  Now isn’t the time to get defensive or nitpick reasons why that might have happened.  Time is so precious in a teacher’s day and we need to use it efficiently and really talk about what different strategies we used.  This is powerful discussion!

Questions to guide your team’s conversation:

  • How did you explain the concept?  
  • What daily activities/strategies did you use?  
  • What should we try next? Are we all trying the same thing or trying a couple different strategies?
  • What is our general timeframe for re-teaching?
  • What will we use to reassess?
  • What impact will this have on the next unit(s) of study?


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