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Mindset in a Data-Driven Culture

A growth mindset is critical in establishing a data-driven culture. Often data surfaces realities that are
uncomfortable. Students might not be achieving after long months of teacher and student effort. Teachers
who feel powerful due to their positive, productive classroom culture might not see data results. Students
often arrive far behind grade-level in their skills and knowledge. Teachers who see the expected level of rigor
and who become aware of how students align (or don’t) to these high standards may look at the gap and see a
chasm – leading some educators to blame students, the system, the test, or be self-critical in unproductive
ways. This ailment is a huge obstacle in a data-driven culture.

A growth mindset is the antidote. An educator with a growth mindset looks at the struggles of their students
as a surgeon would with a patient. What is the diagnosis? What is the best route of action? How should she

The most powerful word in the arsenal of growth mindset educator is the word “yet”: “My students cannot
organize a paragraph…yet.”

Discourse of an Educator without a Growth Discourse of an Educator with a Growth
Mindset…yet. Mindset
These students cannot read. My students can’t read yet. I have to figure out how
to support my students to read.
What do you expect me to do? They are so far What can I do to catch students up?
These students are not interested in learning. They aren’t interested yet. Achievement is
engaging! I don’t know how to get them engaged
yet. Who can I ask for help?
What do you expect when their last teacher didn’t Let’s talk/can’t talk now…. I have a lot of work to
teach them anything? do.
My students have so many issues! You can’t expect I can control what happens in my classroom. One
me to solve all their problems! step at time, and I’ll move my students forward.
These students don’t try. I need to engage students in the process. It’s that
Looking at numbers won’t make a difference in my What can these data tell me about what students
classroom. know and might not understand?
This test doesn’t measure what I’m teaching. There’s no test for high-quality work yet. The data
don’t tell me everything, but they can tell me a lot
about who needs what in my classroom.
These data only tell me what I already know – most These data don’t give me the full picture, but
students are failing. there’s a lot to learn about students’ thinking and
where we need to go next.
They can’t do this. They can’t do this yet. That’s why I’m their teacher.

© 2015 EL Education Inc.