Stories & Data Collection for Best Outcomes

Were we all sold a story?

By now you’re likely familiar with the podcast from APM Reports, Sold a Story, detailing how authors and their distributors promoted unproven methods of reading instruction that resulted in immeasurable harm to students for over an entire generation. Well-intentioned educators and decision-makers were convinced to use faulty teaching methods that failed children, especially those most at risk due to historical racial and economic inequality. Far too many upper-grade teachers could not and still cannot do their jobs because students were not given the essential instruction they deserved, the devastating consequences of which are life-long.

We invite you to read Timothy Shanahan’s response to the report here:

Systems move slowly. Even with all the available evidence proving the Science of Reading works, some schools and centers still use outdated methods of teaching.


One reason is that science requires data, and data has to be collected in order to be analyzed and utilized. We must be able to measure where children are to determine what types of interventions – if any – are necessary to further their reading development. This is how we make sure kids don’t get passed on and end up in third, fourth, fifth or even later grades without being able to read. As a program, FluentSeeds also needs to be accountable by measuring our own impact, so that we can see where kids struggle and what steps we should take to better support teachers.

In order to better serve our partners, our organization has committed to a process of continual improvement by placing a priority upon the consistent collection and analysis of child, adult, and participant data.

For children this comes in the form of benchmark assessments at the beginning, middle, and end of each year, and at a minimum, monthly progress monitoring to ensure every child has achieved mastery in the essential component of that instruction.

As teachers ourselves we know that it can feel overwhelming to add child data collection to an already impossibly long list of classroom responsibilities.

We start from a place of compassion. We take a patient – yet firm – long-term approach to ensuring data collection is an integral part of programming for the benefit of all parties. We will continue to build relationships that balance the rigor of evidence-based practices with respect for our partners’ processes. Together, we will write better stories of thriving children with the right training and support for those who teach them.

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