An activity that provides a structure for looking at, understanding, and interpreting data


This protocol is a tool that guides teachers' interactions with student data.  It enables teachers to utilize a phased structure to help interrogate and make sense and meaning out of quantitative or qualitative data. Instead of jumping right to interpretation, this model asks the teacher to also describe the data and think about it's implications for their practice.  It allows teachers to be more reflective about and responsive to the student voices represented in the data.  

1. Select student data to look at.

2. Describe the data using prompts such as:  what do you see? how is it represented? who is represented? Avoid judgments or interpretations during this phase.

3. Interpret the data using prompts such as: what does the data suggest? what are the assumptions you might be making about what this data suggests?

4. Reflect on the implications of the data using prompts such as: what are the implications of this data for your teaching? for your practice? what steps can be taken next? what else would you like to see happen? what other information would be helpful?

5. Reflect on the process of using this protocol using prompts such as: what questions did looking at this data raise for you? how can you pursue these questions further? what about the process helped you see and learn interesting or suprising things? what worked well? what could be improved?

Time Required

30 minutes

Required Materials

Quantitative or qualitative data

Preferred Citation

SRI- The Atlas, Looking at Data tool, developed by Eric Buchovecky, is based in part on the work of the Leadership for Urban Mathematics Project and the Assessment Communities of Teachers Project. The tool also draws on the work of Steve Seidel and Evangeline Harris-Stefanakis of Project Zero at Harvard University. Revised November 2000 by Gene Thompson-Grove. Revised August 2004 for Looking at Data by Dianne Leahy