TOPS Collaborative

Summer Work

Your choice

It's your choice whether you work on your TOPS course over the summer or not. There are two schools of thought: 1) getting away from it for a while will do you some good, You can reflect over the summer and make changes as you are preparing your course at the beginning of the semester; 2) making changes right after the course is complete might be the best way to improve your course. Which you decided to do depends on you, how you want to spend your time, and how you work the best. Either way, you should be making changes and improvements every semester. There is no such thing as a perfect course.

What does your data tell you?

Ways to analyze your course data:

  1. Survey your students.
  2. Analyze Student Data
  3. Reflect on how the semester went.

Course Surveys

Course Survey

Because of the amount of surveying that AdvancED required, I'm not requiring teachers to survey students. This is totally up to you. If you want to use the course survey we've always used, then follow these instructions:

1. Open this link:

2. Go to File > Make a copy

3. Rename your survey so you can find it easily.

4. Tailor the questions to get the data you want from students.

5. Share the survey with your students. I suggest adding a link in your last module.

Assessment Average

Canvas Gradebook

If you have your assessments set up as their own category in Canvas, then it's going to be easy to look at assessment averages (see below). This is fake data, so don't go snooping around trying to figure out whose it is. It's from Math 2.
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As you can see, on the far right side of the gradebook, it will list your assignment category averages. This will give you a very quick look at this data. You can export it using the export feature to manipulate it in a spreadsheet.

What if I don't have categories set up like this?

Then you're going to need to export it to manipulate it.


In the Canvas gradebook:

  1. To make your life easier later, click the cog > assort assignments by assignment group
  2. Click export
  3. Select current
  4. It will automatically download a .CSV file that opens in Excel (or Google Sheets or Apple Numbers).
  5. From there you can use different Excel computations to look at your data.

Getting an average in Excel

I apologize for assuming someone might not know how to do this

Find your tests

At the bottom of the column you're going to have to put in a formula.

Let's say your test column is Z and you have 30 total rows. Your formula will look like =average(Z2:Z30)

This is telling Excel to get an average for everything in column Z from the 2nd row to the 30th.

You can copy and paste this cell to other rows to get more averages. (see below)

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Once you get your data

Once you get your data, you want to look for anomalies or anything that stands out. For example, in this data, you can see that the class average for Test 7 went down a total of 10 points. You also see that the class average for tests 5 and 6 are just above a passing grade. That should lead you to further exploration of what happened. You can sort the rows by students to find out who made the highest grades. You might have some 0's in there that you want to remove. As the teacher, you should already have questions in your head. This will help you pinpoint assessments and others assignments you will want to revisit as you make improvements to your course.

Advanced Statistics

More ways than averages

If you want to look at the data in different ways, correlations are a way to find if there is significant relationship between two sets of data. For example, if you want to determine if the scores in test 5 were related to the scores in test 7, then you need to run a correlation. In my spreadsheet above, I'm going to accomplish this by inputting =correl(BT2:BT30,BV2:BV30) This will give you a coefficient that tells you the strength of the relationship or "the goodness of it." The range is -1 (no relationship) to 1 (strong relationship). For example, the scores in Test 5 and Test 7 had a coefficient of .61. This is a strong relationship. The coefficient for the scores in Test 5 and Test 6 was .89. This is a very strong relationship.
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Using Canvas Analytics

How to use these

If you want to look at the performance of an individual student, you can use Canvas Analytics to look at their communication with you, when they submitted work, their grades on the work, and their activity in your class. These are displayed in graph form that's very easy to read.

So what's the point?

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It's like archaeology

Before you dig, you need evidence. Otherwise, archaeologists would spent their time just digging for the sake of finding something. Archaeologists use historical writings, local legends, and physical evidence to determine where and how they're going to dig. Using Excel to find places of interest will help you dig down into student data to find ways to improve your courses and help your students be more successful.


How to reflect

Of course, reflecting on how the semester went in your class is a fairly obvious thing. It's like giving you instructions on how to breathe, but sometimes it helps to categorize things in the mind, so if you'll pardon this lesson on breathing, here are some tips for reflection. Self-reflection is personal and shouldn't be shared with nosy administrators.

As a nosy administrator, I am always happy to read or discuss your reflections. There is more value to me in seeing the changes as opposed to just talking about them. Words are wind, as they say.

Teaching and Learning

  1. Did students learn what I wanted them to learn?
  2. How do I know they learned it?
  3. What did I do when I could tell they hadn't learned it?
  4. What did I do when I could tell they already knew what I was teaching?

Professional Growth

  1. What's one thing I can do now that I couldn't do at the beginning of the year?
  2. What's one thing I will add to my course next year that wasn't there this year?
  3. What's something I understand about my content that I didn't understand before?
  4. What's something I want learn next year?
  5. What's one tool I don't have that I'd like to add next year?


  1. What did my students tell me in my course surveys that I expected to hear?
  2. What did students say that I didn't expect to hear?
  3. What's something I will change based on student feedback?
  4. What's something I won't change based on student feedback?
  5. What's something I need to present better to students?
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Summertime