Using Data to Form Groups

Differentiated Instruction

Learning Targets

I can use data from various sources to create purposeful groups to differentiate instruction in my classroom.

AIMSweb Data

Reading Levels

Examine your student's AIMSweb data. On a class roster, highlight your students based on their reading levels (pink, yellow, green).


When planning stations, group your students based on their reading levels and differentiate the level of work based on their reading ability.

Formative Assessments

Go Formative

www.goformative.com is a great website that you can use to give formative assessments to students.

SchoolNet Assessments

Double Sorting

Click here to link to the presentation.


SchoolNet enables data to be exported to Excel. Once you do this, you can easily manipulate the data in order to more efficiently help you differentiate your instruction. Using a double sort will automatically group your students by need.


The steps below can be used for any data put in an Excel spreadsheet.

Steps to complete Data Analysis

Part 1: Retrieving Results from Powerschool

1. Log into Powerschool

2. From the menu on the left-hand side, choose Schoolnet (it is near the bottom of the menu. Scroll down until you see it.)

3. Choose “Classrooms.”

4. Choose “Student Performance.”

5. Choose the class and benchmark assessment of interest.

6. Once that class’s info is loaded, choose “Item Analysis.”

7. Click on the “Export” button and from the drop down menu choose “Export to Spreadsheet.” (The material will export automatically to Excel.)

Part 2: In Excel

1. Name and save the spreadsheet.

2. At the Bottom of the worksheet, create 3 new worksheets. (You should have a total of four worksheets.)

3. Name Sheet 1 Original Data

4. Name Sheet 2: By Grade

5. Name Sheet 3: By Grade and Item

6. Name Sheet 4: Grouped

Worksheet 1:

7. Click on the first worksheet that is now named “Original Data.”

8. Click in the upper left hand corner to highlight the whole sheet.

9. Copy the entire sheet. (I like to hold down the command button and then hit c.”

Worksheet 2:

10. Click on the worksheet named “By Grade”

11. Click on the upper left hand corner of the worksheet and then paste the information from the Original sheet into that sheet.

12. Scroll down until you see your student’s names. Highlight all the names and their responses. Do not highlight the item number row.

13. At the very top of the window, click on Data

14. Then click on Sort

15. Choose to sort by Column B which is the Total Score column. Click Ok.

16. A box should pop up that says something like, “…sort by anything that looks like a number.” Click Ok.

17. Check to see that the students are now ordered by grade from least at the top to highest at the bottom.

18. Click on the top left-hand corner of the spreadsheet to highlight the whole worksheet again; copy it.

Worksheet 3:

19. Open the next worksheet named “By Grade and Item” and paste the entire worksheet into it.

20. Working in the worksheet, “By Grade & Item,” highlight from the top where the title of a column says “Item 1”(include the Item 1 column title) to the bottom of the data for each student and then across the entire array of data. Do not include anything to the left of Column 3 in the highlighted area.

21. Go back up to the very top of the Excel spreadsheet and choose Data.

22. Choose “Sort.”

23. Click on “Options.”

24. Choose to sort from left to right.(Note after you finish, you will have to go back to Sort, Options, to reset it to “Sort Top to Bottom.”)

25. Click on the down arrow to “Sort by” Row 2, which should be the Section-Wide Percent Correct row.

26. Click OK.

27. Check to see that the Items are now arranged by increasing order.

28. Copy the worksheet

Worksheet 4:

29. Paste it into the last worksheet

30. Highlight the cells of the groups of students who did similarly

31. Highlight the cells of the Items into groups. I like to highlight into these grops: most did poorly, most did average, most did well

Now you know which students did well and which need to be retaught. This is the knowledge that allows you to personalize education.

You also know which items caused the most trouble and which items the class already knows. This knowledge allows you to really focus on what the students did not get!

Dynamic Student Grouping

Grouping Students

Here is an interesting article about using data to group students and tying it to blended learning.


Discussion: How can you take back what you have heard about grouping students and use it tomorrow in your classroom?