3 ways our school uses data to drive instruction

Here's a look at how one school makes it easy for teachers and students to work with data

As principal, I also go into classrooms and talk to students one-on-one and go over their data and their concrete goals for improvement. This helps to further keep students accountable and reinforces to them that improvement is a team effort.

Make the data visual for everyone to use.
To have an overall view of our school’s data, we created a data room (see photo) that displays all of our students’ data. This lets us determine which students need additional support, where they are falling behind, and what intervention services they need.

Based on this, we assign our students to small, grade-level group instruction with a teacher who is strong in the given skill they need help with. This daily intervention time is built into the school day with 30 to 45 minutes reserved for the groups to work on specific skills. We have three days of reading and two days of math, unless otherwise specified by student needs.

We also provide intervention support for smaller group sizes, as well as ELL and ESE students. In the classroom, teachers are also doing their own instructional groupings and providing intervention to students as needed.

Identify year-to-year trends.
We use our end-of-year diagnostic data to see if we need to make schoolwide adjustments to our core instruction. We identify patterns and trends—both by cohorts and individual students—and make changes to our instructional plans to ensure student growth.

The year-to-year data also helps ensure teacher buy-in, especially with our novice teachers, to our school’s data culture, which also indirectly helps our students. There is often a big learning curve for our new teachers, but when they look at the data and see how the programs we have in place are helping students succeed, they trust in the process.

As a result of our data-driven approach, our students are thriving. Our school has improved from a “C” school in the 2014-15 school year to a “B” school in 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years and we have been the highest performing elementary school in our district for five years in a row. Additionally, our students’ proficiency on the FSA has jumped double digits in reading and nearly double digits in math—a positive trajectory that we will work hard to continue!

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