How three districts are tracking student data


California’s Sanger Unified School District wanted to replace its existing data tool, which generated assessments and aggregated data, in favor of professional learning communities (PLCs).

The district needed the ability to generate common formative assessments that provided regular data on student learning, and it also needed a method of generating data on student achievement gains after interventions. Because English Language Learners (ELLs) make up 25 percent of Sanger ISD, district officials also wanted to monitor ELL progress.

Here is how Sanger USD is using student data:

  • Each school principal in the district delivers an annual public report that includes a five-year disaggregated analysis of student data.
  • A District Progress Assessment is developed and administered three times each year to measure student progress and achievement in terms of mastering essential standards.
  • Educators developed an ELL assessment to monitor ELL student gains and struggles.
  • The district generated common formative assessments that provide regular data on student learning between administration of the District Progress Assessment

“Having data is great, but it’s not the answer—it’s responding to the data that’s the answer,” said Marc Johnson, the district’s superintendent.

Sanger said district leaders and educators follow four basic questions when they approach student learning:

  1. What do educators want students to learn?
  2. How do educators know students learned it?
  3. How do educators respond when they know learning has not occurred?
  4. How do educators respond when they know learning has already occurred?

The role of leadership is especially important, he said, because school leaders “lead the learning at the schools.”

Laura Ascione

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