Evaluating Data with a Growth Mindset

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Of the many challenges educators face, one of the most formidable is evaluating data. As we enter the time of the year to evaluate mid-year data, we have an opportunity to foster a growth mindset and that topic is the focus of today’s blog.

A growth mindset is a belief that a person’s abilities can be improved through effort, learning, and persistence. A growth mindset recognizes challenges and seeks opportunities without accepting defeat, and sounds like this: “Algebra is difficult, but each time I practice, I get better at it.” The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset, which sees limitations, and sounds like this: “Algebra is difficult. I must not be very good at it.” Mindset always matters as it shapes our direction.

We recognize data can feel overwhelming but being able to navigate the growth students have made will impact your ability to conquer challenges. Also, students won’t see failure as a means to describe themselves but as a springboard for growth in developing their abilities. Learning how to foster a growth mindset, especially regarding data, requires patience and practice. To help you navigate evaluating data with a growth mindset, we have a list of ideas to support you. 

  1. Reframe The Conversation with Parents and Students- The foundation of how parents and students perceive data is key. Approach the conversation with the power of yet statements, “The student hasn’t met the goal-yet,” “The student doesn’t fully understand the educational concept-yet,” or ” The student didn’t meet the standard-yet.” Empowering parents and students to integrate a growth mindset during these conversations could unearth strategies to help students overcome challenges and collectively better support them in meeting their goals.  
  1. Celebrate The Growth- We all need a standing ovation sometimes! Take an opportunity to celebrate growth. Ignore that inner voice or seeking approval from others, focus on yourself and how the data shows that even one student grew. If one student made improvements, then celebrate with them in that progress. Reminisce on all the moments you positively impacted a student. If you need some specific ideas on celebrating yourself, check out our FREE course “Having a Full Cup: Self-Care in Teaching.” 
  1. Take a Growth Mindset Action- We all encounter challenges that push us as individuals and perfection isn’t the standard to meet. Learning is a process and part of fostering a growth mindset when evaluating data is reacting positively to challenges. Reach out to colleges for support or continue your professional development. Taking a step forward rather than dwelling can catapult change. Embracing failure as an opportunity for growth will support your understanding of a growth mindset.  
  1. Set Realistic Goals- Look for data with room for improvement. Even if it’s minimal improvement, it matters. Involve parents and students in setting goals. Getting students to reach end-of-year goals will take small steps along the way. Some goals may be fixed but others can be adjusted. Discuss strategies that students can use to overcome challenges, such as asking questions during class, taking advantage of office hours a teacher may offer, and using content sources such as books or internet resources to support their learning.  

Let’s address this honestly, it is hard to look at data positively when so many important factors aren’t represented. However, studies have shown that a growth mindset can have an influential impact on our lives. Try recognizing your mindset, normalizing the struggle, and sharing your efforts with others to support a positive mindset. Carol S. Dweck wrote, “No matter what your current ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”

Take the last two months of this calendar year to challenge your mindset when evaluating data.  Look for the growth and see the power of “not yet” as you use this information to plan for second semester adjustments.

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