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October 16, 2023

Streamlining Data-Driven Instruction with Pear Assessment

Improving student outcomes is a primary focus for every educator. In this digital age, there are numerous tools available that claim to do just that. Tyler Brown, an Pear Assessment (formerly Edulastic) and Pear Deck Coach and a member of the Pear Practice Innovation Incubator program, has found Pear Assessment to be a game-changer for streamlining data-driven instruction.

Like many educators, Tyler faced challenges when it came to data analysis and assessment creation. However, his integration of Pear Assessment into his teaching approach transformed his outlook.

We had the pleasure to hear from Tyler directly about his experience using Pear Assessment and how he uses the platform to enhance student engagement and learning in his classroom. 

Why Pear Assessment?

In Tyler’s own words, “Many of the softwares we were using were very clunky and it was very difficult to do any data analysis because we had to have a data person run all of that data for us. It wasn’t quick or timely feedback. It was very difficult to take that information and put it into teaching.”

With Pear Assessment, Tyler is now able to access his data directly, and can apply his learnings directly back into his instruction.

“One of the things Pear Assessment has allowed us to do as a district is get that information in real-time. You have the Live Dashboard that allows you to see students as they are working, and I can check in with those students as they are going through the assessments.”

This allowed him to utilize data-driven insights almost instantaneously to inform his teaching strategies for the following day or class period. Moreover, Tyler noticed trends quickly, ensuring targeted interventions could be implemented without delay.

Additionally, Tyler appreciates the ease with which he can construct and share assessments with other educators. This not only makes creating standardized, aligned tests a breeze but also facilitates collaboration among teachers. They can now share these tools and pool their insights to refine and improve their instructional strategies.

Writing questions based on instruction and data

During a professional learning series exclusively for Pear Assessment Coaches, Tyler presented on how he uses Pear Assessment to improve student engagement. 

One aspect he delved into was the alignment of instruction and assessment - specifically, how questions are designed based on both instruction and the data gathered.

A core question Tyler posed was: “Does your style of assessment match your style of instruction?”

Pear Assessment allows educators to choose from a variety of question types when creating an assessment. This allows teachers the option to expand beyond a multiple-choice format to pose questions to students in a format that mirrors their instruction. This ensures the assessment is not only a measure of student understanding, but also a continuation of the classroom's instructional approach.

Moving beyond multiple choice to engage students

Think about the following: Which question type mirrors your day-to-day instruction? Do you find yourself favoring one type of question over another?

If students find themselves repeatedly answering multiple-choice questions, there’s a risk of diminishing engagement levels. Tyler pointed out the lack of “manipulation of information” in such scenarios, which deprives students of rich opportunities to exhibit their understanding.

Consider this: Instead of a generic multiple-choice question like, “Which part of the story’s plot is the turning point?,” why not have students apply their comprehension of an actual story plot line with a drag and drop option? 

This approach not only evaluates their understanding but also keeps them engaged, as they work through the process and visually see the relationship between each part of the plot. 

Alternatively, you can provide students with definitions of each plot event and have students match the definitions to the correct term. This is still assessing the same knowledge, but allows for less guessing and more opportunity for students to make connections with the content. 

The ultimate goal, as Tyler emphasized, is to create an assessment that is not just evaluative, but also engaging. By adjusting and diversifying the types of questions, educators can usher in a more dynamic and interactive learning environment for their students. This not only aids in better comprehension, but also ensures students remain invested in the learning process.

“I will say, this approach has made my teaching this year much more engaging for myself as well. I’m seeing quite a bit of growth already in my students, and notice they’re paying much more attention daily.” – Tyler Brown 

A salute to classroom innovators

In the world of education, teachers like Tyler Brown genuinely make a difference. Their dedication to enhancing learning and sharing insights benefits everyone involved.

We thank Tyler for sharing his experiences and insights with the Pear Assessment team. We look forward to continually sharing stories directly from the classroom.

Stay informed on stories of how teachers are using Pear Assessment to improve their classroom experience 

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