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Math Blog

A K–8 resource to support deep comprehension of math skills and concepts

September 8, 2023 other-professional-development, other-seasonal

Using Student Data to Inform Math Instruction

Teachers wear many hats: facilitator, counselor, advocate, nurse, coach, motivator, comedian. . . the list goes on. One critical role that rarely makes it onto this list is data analyst. Every day, teachers must identify the needs of students, choose targeted resources for reteaching and remediation, and then implement those resources to ultimately improve a student’s proficiency with a specific skill. In this article, we will share reasons it is critical for teachers to engage in data analysis to support them in making decisions. Plus, explore a new resource to support data-driven decision making!


How to Use Student Data to Inform Math Instruction

Analysis for Improvement

At the core of humanity is our desire to analyze outcomes and adjust our actions to improve in the future. This happens naturally in our everyday life; we drive somewhere, take note of the traffic, and determine a faster route for the next time. Similarly, we cook dinner, identify our likes and dislikes, and make adjustments when we make the dish again. The process teachers go through to ensure student understanding follows this same logic. Math class is the perfect setting to apply this natural desire to analyze and improve outcomes for students, teachers, schools, and districts.

The Importance of Teachers Making Data-Informed Decisions

More than ever, teachers, schools, and districts are held accountable for their performances, measured by individual student learning and well-being. Each decision that a teacher makes reflects efforts to take action and create change with the ultimate shared goal of providing students more possibilities in the future (Maxwell, 2021). Therefore, the daily decisions teachers are making must be well informed with quantitative data.


The daily decisions teachers are making must be well informed with quantitative data.

The Benefits of Data-Informed Decisions in Education

Teachers need a system for easily assessing students and capturing data to gain insights into gaps in learning and next steps for instruction. With support in delivering assessments, collecting data, and grouping data into reports, teachers can spend more time considering alignment, differentiation, and implementation of instruction that caters to individual needs. Students benefit because teachers can deliver more purposeful instruction without exhausting their time and energy. The benefits extend even further beyond the individual classroom; the data collected aids schools and districts with reporting of performance and growth using concrete data. With this information, larger scale processes and routines can be evaluated and continually improved upon to support the shared goal of helping students along their learning journey.

Implementing a Data-Informed Instructional Cycle

How can teachers make daily decisions based on this quantitative data? Sadlier’s Full Access provides teachers with the data-informed instruction they need to meet each student’s needs.

data-informed-math-instructionFull Access is a comprehensive system for assessing and addressing student learning needs. Full Access outlines an ongoing process that provides the necessary resources for teachers to support their students in continuing their individual learning path: Assess, Capture Data, Analyze Data, Create an Action Plan, and Teach. Full Access includes:

  • A variety of reports based on students’ performance on program assessment outcomes

  • Student Proficiency reports for students to support teachers with creating learning groups.

  • Skills Proficiency Reports for individual students and the whole class to support reteaching opportunities.

  • Recommended Resources Reports to help teachers create an action plan.

Here are why those inclusions are so critical.

Assess and Capture

Assessment is an ongoing process used to guide teachers’ and students’ actions. Full Access uses 2 types of program assessments:

  • Benchmark assessments, used at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. These assessments contain the same content on each iteration to determine students’ proficiency on grade level skills.
  • Cumulative assessments, to gauge progress throughout the year.

Data is captured by the results of both types of assessments and then is organized into multiple different types of reports.


Once data is captured, it is only useful if it is easily accessible, interpretable, and usable (Maxwell, 2021). Full Access features 4 different reports that allow teachers to easily access and understand their students' results.

The four reports offered include:

  • Proficiency: reports students’ scores on each benchmark assessment and identifies which students need additional support (Also available for the whole class)
  • Skills: depicts performance on individual skills that align with learning objectives
  • Domain: overview of students’ understanding in each domain, helpful to assess gaps in the whole class’s knowledge (Also available for individual students)
  • Growth report: shows progress between and across the beginning, middle, and end of the school year

When a report is created it will include assessment scores as well as recommended resources such that a teacher can easily identify and assign activities directly from the report.

Snapshots captured by the reports can be detailed for a single student or generalized for a whole class. The diversity of the reports allows for various comparisons including an individual to themself, an individual to peers within the school, and an individual to normed standards. As a result, the reports can meet the needs of teachers, administrators, and district level leadership.

Plan and Implement

The final two steps in the data-informed instructional cycle involve teachers reviewing the data and creating a plan. The Learning Group Report identifies students with similar learning needs, details the necessary instruction, and therefore enables a teacher to easily manage multiple groups. This report is offered in two views, list and graph, to allow teachers to easily make action plans for individuals, small groups, and/or the whole class as needed.

With the Recommended Resources Report, teachers are given ideas for how to support students with specific learning objectives through independent assignments and/or synchronous instruction.

High expectations pull teachers in all different directions; teachers must attend to the alignment of learning goals, instruction, and assessments, differentiation of instruction to meet students' individual needs, and selection of evidence-based resources to implement. Beyond these newer focuses, it is essential for teachers to learn how to and continue to use data to drive decision making and inform their instruction. Full Access supports teachers in engaging with all three pivotal components of purposeful decision making: problem identification, solution generation, and implementation (Maxwell, 2021).

Give Data-Informed Instruction a Test Run!

Would you like to try a unique solution to assess and address learning gaps for your math students in grades 1–8? Support individual student success with data-driven instruction using the Sadlier Math Full Access Bundle or the Progress in Mathematics Full Access Bundle.


Request a Trial of Sadlier Math Full Access

Request a Trial of Progress In Mathematics Full Access






Maxwell, G. S. (2021). Using Data to Improve Student Learning. Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-63539-8