3. Assessing understanding

This final part is on analysis and interpretation of data once it has been displayed. It will enable you to assess the success of your teaching (for more information, see Key Resource: Assessing learning [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ).

Using information from the science teacher or another subject teacher shows that data collection and analysis is important across the curriculum; it also allows you to work with other teachers and gain support. Case Study 3 and the Key Activity show how your pupils can use new data and how you can use this to assess their understanding.

You may decide to use a structured question approach (see Resource 4: Structured questions) for your assessment, so that you can find out exactly how much each of your pupils has learned.

Case Study 3: Assessing understanding of data handling

Mr Kaluba wanted to make sure his pupils were confident at handling and interpreting data. He also wanted to show them what information they could get from their charts.

He asked the head teacher to provide numbers of pupils in each class in the school and asked his pupils to use this to draw a chart that showed the data well. He asked pupils to work in pairs to help each other with this task. Each pair had to agree on the best kind of chart to use.

Mr Kaluba asked them to note the title, the units used, the scales, what the axes represent, the highest and lowest points and any patterns in the chart, and to write a few sentences to explain what the chart showed them.

Mr Kaluba was pleased with their response and felt that his lesson had been successful. He displayed the pupils’ charts on the classroom wall.

Key Activity: Assessing data analysis and interpretation

To assess how well your pupils analyse and interpret data, you can use a structured question approach with questions that gradually get harder. This means starting with easy ones that all pupils can answer, moving on to less easy ones that can be answered by the majority of the pupils and including a last one which can be answered only by the more able pupils.

  • Write the data on the board or on a piece of manilla paper (some example data is given in Resource 5: Kano’s rainfall).
  • Write the questions on a separate sheet of paper.
  • Show the chart and questions to the class. Explain they are to work on their own, drawing a chart using the data and then answering as many questions as they can.
  • Give the class one lesson to do the activity.
  • Collect in and mark their work.
  • Next lesson, give feedback to the class about what they did well and where they need support and say how you will do this.

2. Interpreting and creating charts in groups

Resource 1: Tally chart