Data analysis for whole-class instruction (Tier 1) transcript

Elaine Stanley:

Next, I'm going to use the data to identify areas for greater focus in my explicit teaching for the whole grade, so Tier 1 instruction.

Again, I'm going to start with the whole-grade percentages, but this time, I'm looking for numbers just below that 80% mastery. This tells me that students haven't quite grasped the learning and may need more explicit teaching and guided practice during our phonics lessons. This is where the data analysis isn't always quite black and white though. That 80% marker is my guide, but I still need to delve deeper into the data to actually see what's going on with my students. Then I'll make decisions about the best way to support them going forward.

My first step is to work out which areas are just under that 80% (in row 6). I can see (in column G) that 'letter–sound correspondence knowledge for th’ is just below (77%). For that digraph, students have to provide the two sounds (voiced th and unvoiced th). And this is one of our first letter–sound correspondences where students have to provide two sounds, and also that th sound can be quite difficult for students to make in the early stages, so I'm taking that into account.

Then I can see sentence-level decoding (column Q; 77%). This is where students read sentences, incorporating words with those consonant digraphs we've just learned. Also, spelling the words ‘because’ (column T) and ‘once’ (column U). Spelling those two words, they're below that 80% mastery. And also, sentence-level encoding (column W; 64%), so writing sentences incorporating words with all those letter–sound correspondences.

When I've identified the areas, next I need to look a bit deeper to work out why these scores are below our target 80%, because this is going to help me really make decisions about how I can best support my students.

I need to decide for each area, is this something I need to re-teach to the whole grade? Is this something only certain students need some additional instruction in? Or is this something that might be a quick fix instead of a whole-class re-teach in a full phonics lesson?

Looking down the column for the two sounds of th (column G), I want to see how many and which of my students didn't get those two sounds correct. I can see that Sam is one of those students, and even though he's picking up some of the letter–sound correspondences in our whole-class lessons, which you can see there, he's picked up some of them, which is great. We know he's working with letter–sound correspondences from Phase 1 and building his skills of blending and segmenting there. I'm not going to worry too much at this stage if he hasn't mastered those two sounds of th.

Next, I can see Sadie. Now, Sadie has missed lots of school this year and we're working hard to fill gaps in her phonics knowledge. She is also receiving daily support to build up her letter–sound correspondence knowledge sequentially following our progression.

My other three students in this column are Hani, Sarah and Pham. They don't usually have trouble grasping new letter–sound correspondences, so I'm thinking they just need a little more practice with this one because, as I said, it's the first one we've studied with two sounds, and it can be a little bit difficult for them to make as well.

So, I don't think I need to re-teach this concept to the whole grade from looking at my data. I'm just going to really track those students really closely in coming lessons when we're working with digraphs. And if it still seems to be an issue, I could then plan a Tier 2 session as well with those students, if that problem continues for them.

It may also be a quick fix to just include extra practice in my daily review with those two sounds for th to just help those students as well. I can add that to my daily review as well, and then just monitor and see how those students go.

I can see looking at the data for ‘because’ and ‘once’ (columns T and U) that we're at 68% correct, which means seven of my students are not able to write those words yet. And, if I look across at the decoding (columns N and O), a few of them are not able to read them either. Because of this, taking both of those things into account, I'm going to include these irregular words in my phonics lessons for a couple more lessons until I can see that greater application and greater success rate with those. And then I could keep that focus in my daily review for a little bit longer as well, just to make sure those words are really being applied by students when they're reading and spelling.

Next, I'm going to look at the other two areas I've got there, which are sentence-level decoding and sentence-level encoding. These are the most complex areas in the progress monitoring assessment, and there are a couple of things for us to consider when we're making decisions about instruction at the sentence level.

You would know, as the classroom teacher, from your ongoing progress monitoring assessments collected in all your previous phases, whether these areas are ones students are building their skills in gradually over time – so they're gradually increasing their skills at being able to write at that sentence level – or whether they can usually do that and the difficulties are just occurring in this phase. If students are building their skills gradually at the sentence level, then what you are going to be doing is having that greater degree of teacher guidance and support in that part of your phonics lessons to keep helping them build their skills to the sentence level. And, in this case, if that's what's happening, you should be gradually seeing your percentages at the sentence level come up over time across your progress monitoring assessments.

If students are only experiencing difficulty with reading and spelling at the sentence level in this phase, then you need to make the decision about whether you stay in this phase and build their fluency in reading and spelling with digraphs at that sentence level for a little bit longer, which means planning some more lessons within this phase to keep building their skills in this area.

For my students, I know they usually cope well with reading and spelling and writing at the sentence level for previous phases, so I'm going to make the decision to stay in Phase 8 for a little bit longer, plan a couple more whole-class phonics lessons, review all the letter–sound correspondences within this phase and really home in on that sentence-level work in my lessons. The data tells me they're not yet applying what they've learned efficiently at that sentence level yet. They need a little bit more support there. Doing those lessons at the whole-class level is also going to support my students that haven't quite grasped all the letter–sound correspondences as well. So, I'm covering that base, too, to support those students as well.

Some students in the sentence-writing column (column W) are going really well. So, what I'm going to do is to support them because we're going to re-teach, really focused on the whole class, in the whole-class lessons on that sentence work. What I'm going to do to support those students who are really going well is give them a more challenging sentence to write with the digraphs or even get them to extend on sentences that are given to the whole grade, just so we're supporting those students at the top end there as well. And, again, if you look at Topic 2, you'll see that demonstration of that happening in a whole-class lesson where we're differentiating.

Areas for increased focus in my next few whole-class phonics lessons are working on the irregular words ‘because’ and ‘once’ from this phase, and also really homing in on sentence-level decoding and encoding.

What I'm going to do is follow my usual instructional model, just as we always do for every phonics lesson, but I'm going to have greater emphasis on those areas we've identified. This means I'm going to really slow the pace when we get to that sentence-level work you can see there, and provide a greater level of teacher support when we get to do the sentence reading and writing. I'm going to incorporate more teacher modelling, if I need to and really focus in on the support I give the students in the guided practice stage. And I can move between modelling and guided practice as needed, which is dictated by how my students go. It's not just linear where you do one, then do the other and that's it. You can go backwards and forwards as well as needed by your students.

Here's an example of what we'll include in our phonics lessons. I'll be providing lots of scaffolding for students and breaking each sentence down, so we're working word by word to build that sentence, and I'll be watching closely to see how students go when they're reading and writing those sentences.

You can see there, there are some sentences with our digraphs in them. We're going to be doing lots of work around that for reading. And where you see the pen, that's where I'm going to dictate sentences as well for students to break down word by word and spell with those digraphs. And then we're going to have that focus on those irregular words as well that we want to home in on.

Before we move on, I just want you to really make note of the importance of your check for understanding in your instructional model, so in your phonics lessons, because this can really complement the data you get in your progress monitoring assessments.

Check for understanding happens in your phonics lessons when you've worked through all the stages of the lesson, and you really want to check that students have understood and can apply what they've learned. It's really important for helping you know how students are progressing within a phase or within a particular lesson. It will help you know when to move on and when to stay put for more explicit instruction. It will inform your decisions about whether you need to return to do more modelled practice or more guided practice before students move on to that ‘You do’ independent practice. And it also really helps you identify the students that will require Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention within each lesson and in between your progress monitoring assessments. It's important to say don't underestimate the importance of that check for understanding in each lesson or even in each intervention session, because that really helps drive your decision-making and your next-steps instruction in between those progress monitoring assessments.