How Good Schools Use Data to Improve Learning Dr. Kelly D. Robinette | Irvine Moms




As parents, we have a profound interest in how well our children are learning key skills and essential knowledge that are fundamental to lifelong learning. Scientists tell us that a love of learning is associated with greater life satisfaction, optimism, engagement, and longevity. What more could we ask for our children?


Top-tier schools embrace lifelong learning as a core priority. But along with this comes the knowledge that in order for students to adopt this value for themselves, they need to feel confident in their ability to read, write, and problem-solve. The role of the teacher includes not just imparting knowledge to their students but also training them to read thoughtfully, write cogently, and think critically. 




At Fairmont Schools, we take this mandate very much to heart. Our expert faculty shines at teaching these vital skills and providing ample opportunities for students to practice them. They also excel at leveraging actionable data from benchmark testing to create a road map to help identify their students’ academic strengths and weaknesses, and establish an understanding of how to best support successful learning outcomes.


So, what is benchmark testing? 


Benchmark tests are assessments designed to measure student progress toward national or state standards in key learning domains, like reading and math. At Fairmont, we conduct benchmark testing early in the school year to provide teachers with a good baseline for instructing their students in the skills and essential understandings that they are expected to master by the end of the school year. We also administer these assessments midway through the year so teachers can make adjustments to their instruction and curriculum, as needed. High-quality benchmark assessments (like STAR Reading and Math which Fairmont employs) provide reports that include lesson plans and practice problems to further assist teachers in personalizing each student’s instruction – whether that means helping someone who may be struggling in a particular area or accelerating learning for someone who is already excelling.




Leading schools like Fairmont include quality benchmark testing as part of their overall education process because it takes the guesswork out of understanding how well students are grasping the essential skills and concepts that are necessary for success in future grade levels/more advanced courses, in college, and even in life.


Is your school using data to maximize your child’s learning? Don’t settle for a “cookie cutter” approach to academics when your child can have the advantage of an educational experience that is individually tailored to their unique abilities and needs. Ready to learn more about the opportunities that Fairmont’s data-driven instruction provides? Contact us today to schedule a visit to one of our five Orange County campuses.


About the Author

Dr. Kelly Robinette has a wealth of experience in education — both in terms of breadth and depth. She has taught at the secondary level at public and private schools alike, and domestically as well as abroad. For the past 15 years, she has served in various capacities within Fairmont Schools’ Education Department, most recently as the Director of Data and Accountability. Dr. Robinette holds a Master of Arts in Education, an Administrative Services Credential, and a Doctor of Education in Leadership degree. Her areas of expertise include academic outcomes data analysis, curriculum development, educational technology, professional development, and teaching strategies.




About Fairmont Schools

Fairmont is Orange County’s oldest and largest secular, co-educational preschool – 12th-grade private school. Voted Best Private School in Orange County for nine consecutive years, Fairmont is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and Cognia, and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools.

With five Orange County campuses serving preschool through high school students, parents can rely on a continuous education where students explore the full range of their potential as scholars, athletes, artists, and leaders. Students can expect to be challenged, inspired, and supported by teachers and peers. Parents can count on educators and administrators who will partner with them in their child’s educational journey.

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