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Action Step and Orientation

L3. Create and implement a data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.

In this lesson, you and your campus-based leadership team will learn about the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction referred to in the Texas State Literacy Plan (TSLP). You will consider how data can be used to develop and monitor a data-informed plan.

Part 1 of this lesson provides information on how to create a data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.

Part 2 explains how to use data to inform, assess, and revise goals and actions in your data-informed plan.

Part 3 explains how to plan for professional development that supports the implementation of your data-informed plan.

To get started, download the Implementation Guide for this component and refer to the Action Step for this lesson. Review the Implementation Indicators for each level of implementation and note the Sample Evidence listed at the bottom of the chart.

Part 1—Creating a Data-Informed Plan for Improving Literacy Instruction

A data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction is a blueprint or roadmap that describes your goals for improvement as well as the steps you will take to achieve these goals. A data-informed plan uses a range of information: student performance data, literacy needs and expectations, the school’s capacity to support literacy development, current teaching practices, and data on the effectiveness of a research-based literacy program.

Many campuses already have improvement plans that include literacy as well as other goals. In implementing the TSLP, your team will focus on the goals related to literacy. This may become a subset of a larger plan, such as a school-wide improvement plan or a literacy-specific plan. In either case, the components of your data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction should include the following:

  • Targeted goals
  • Steps to accomplish targeted goals
  • Multiple data sources
  • Interim progress monitoring checkpoints
  • Resources to support the goals
  • Individuals responsible for monitoring progress towards the goals
  • Timelines or deadlines for completing the steps to accomplish targeted goals

A data-informed plan is one part of an effective school-improvement effort. The plan lays out both the priorities for school-improvement activities and a set of specific plans for bringing about the desired changes. The process of creating and implementing a data-informed plan guides the leadership team’s decision making around instruction, programming, and resource allocation. Naturally, one key component of the plan is the data itself. Data sources in your plan may include the following:

  • Screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring assessment data (The Commissioner’s List of Reading Instruments, found on the TEA's English Language Arts and Reading web page by scrolling down to the “Documents” list, provides a list of assessments you might use.)
  • Language proficiency data (e.g., TELPAS) for English learners
  • Outcome assessment data such as national standardized assessments, state accountability tests, and district tests
  • Classroom assessment data such as teacher-developed tests and observation checklists, curriculum-based assessments, homework assignments, class projects, and end-of-unit tests

To make informed decisions, it is critical that you and your campus-based leadership team examine various data sources and ask what those data sources reveal about students’ performance and learning. The scenario that follows demonstrates how to use a questioning approach with data.

Scenario: To ensure effective goals are in place to improve student achievement, the campus-based leadership team at Jones Elementary analyzes its campus data looking for performance gaps and trends at each grade level. The team asks questions such as the following:

  • What do you notice about the data?
  • Are there significant gaps in our students' understanding or skills?
  • To what might poor results be attributed?
  • Are some groups of students underperforming others?
  • Are there gaps in our sources of data?
  • How might we assess other perceived challenge areas?

These types of questions inspire rich conversations among members of the Jones’ team leadership. After reviewing second-grade data, team members arrive at a consensus on the primary areas of concern: weak spelling scores and low reading fluency rates. Team members then focus on creating a data-informed plan with a clear goal and concrete action items that target improving instruction related to spelling and reading fluency. Based on the data, the campus-based leadership team sets specific performance goals for both the middle and end of the year.

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TO LEARN MORE: View a blank data-informed plan template and a completed template. For your plan, you may choose to use the blank template (and modify it as needed) or use a similar template created by your team or another source.

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NEXT STEPS: Depending on your team's progress in creating the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction, you may want to consider the following next steps:

  • Review the format for your plan to ensure that it includes all the necessary components. (See To Learn More above for a sample template.)
  • Identify the data sources you want to use for developing your annual goals, interim progress monitoring checkpoints, and planned actions.
  • Collect, organize, and review your data.
  • Analyze your data and determine patterns of students' strengths and needs.
  • Determine your goals.
  • Plan the steps to achieve your goals.
  • Determine ways to communicate with teachers and other stakeholders regarding the plan.
  • Establish times, dates, and procedures for revisiting the plan regularly.

Part 2—Using Data to Inform, Assess, and Revise Goals and Actions in the Data-Informed Plan for Improving Literacy Instruction

Collecting and using data is essential for your plan to be successful. Data-informed planning is at the center of all of your improvement efforts, so it is key for you and your team to establish procedures for systematically reviewing data and effectively interpreting data for planning purposes.

As you and your team begin your initial work in creating and implementing your plan, you may focus on the Indicators in Levels A and B of Action Step L3. You will focus on gathering data and reaching a collaborative consensus about which needs are evidenced in the data. Once you have identified areas of need, you can begin creating a data-informed plan for addressing those needs.

The campus-based leadership team is responsible for developing and monitoring a data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction. The plan is constructed around rigorous standards-based instruction, the five components of reading instruction, multiple sources of data, and best practices. The campus-based leadership team supports the plan by incorporating effective and efficient targeted goals and Action Steps. The team’s responsibility is to

  • use assessment data to identify areas of strength and challenge;
  • develop goals across each grade level and content area;
  • identify the type of data to be used;
  • monitor progress toward accomplishing each goal;
  • list resources needed to attain the goals;
  • establish a timeline for resources allocation;
  • solicit feedback from stakeholders; and
  • meet regularly to review and/or revise the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.

Once you and your team have created your data-informed plan, or your roadmap to school improvement, your work can center on implementing and sustaining the plan over time for continued literacy growth. This is an ongoing process that you and your team will lead.

Implementing and sustaining a plan entails ongoing data training for stakeholders to empower them to measure progress toward the targeted goals defined in your campus-wide data-informed plan. Frequently monitoring and evaluating the goals and Action Steps allows your campus-based leadership team to refine and redefine the campus-wide goals as needed. The team’s responsibility is to

  • evaluate the goals and Action Steps of the data-informed plan;
  • ensure the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction is based on student success and outcome data;
  • confirm there is ongoing collaboration with stakeholders concerning the plan; and
  • sustain the systemic process used in developing the plan over time and across administrators.

Part 3—Planning Professional Development to Support a Data-Informed Plan for Improving Literacy Instruction

Teacher education and growth are the foundations of your school improvement efforts. When decisions about the types and topics of professional development are data-informed—that is, when educator strengths and needs are identified through systematic review of educational data—those learning opportunities can be valuable and powerful for teachers. As you and your team create your data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction and begin to focus on areas of potential growth for teachers, it is critical to ensure that both student and teacher learning goals are set and steps are taken to achieve those goals.

Lessons L4–Instructional leadership and L5–Coaching for improved literacy instruction elaborate on the components of a successful professional development model. Professional development is not simply an individual training or workshop. It requires a system of job-embedded support in which campus instructional leaders provide ongoing opportunities for teachers to learn new practices, successfully implement them, receive feedback and engage in reflection, and continue to refine their practice over time.

Of course, the initial steps for creating a professional development plan begin with the review of data and the identification of teacher needs. The scenario below illustrates how these initial steps were taken by the team at Anywhere Elementary School:

Scenario: The campus-based leadership team from Anywhere Elementary School has finished analyzing their data. During this process, they identify a common concern—text comprehension—across all grades. They have also reviewed recent walkthrough and other observational data and note that quality comprehension strategy instruction has not been observed consistently. As a team, they outline a professional development plan for addressing this teacher and student need, and they integrate these efforts into their data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.

The team understands the need to plan for several types of professional development in order to achieve positive changes. To start, the administrators initiate a book study with grade-level teachers focused on comprehension strategy instruction. Time is already allotted for teachers to regularly meet in professional learning communities once per week, so leaders guide them in their book study discussion during these times. Leaders also provide teachers with direct training and modeling of the practices they are learning.

As the team at Anywhere Elementary is experiencing, when school leaders are actively involved in professional development and promote the learned instructional strategy, they are more likely to see positive changes in teachers’ practices. They understand that these initial phases are just the beginning of teacher growth. Once teachers integrate the new strategies into their lesson plans, they will need ongoing support in implementing those strategies successfully. The leadership team begins planning additional ways—through coaching, observation, and feedback—that instructional leadership will be provided during this process.

You’ll notice in the scenario above that the professional development plan includes far more than just a training session. The critical piece to this professional development is the follow-up work that helps ensure implementation is occurring. Planning collaboratively, modeling by coaches, and getting feedback on teaching are all parts of planning a professional development framework. In the following lessons, you and your team will explore how these components can be successfully implemented.

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NEXT STEPS: Depending on your team’s progress in creating the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction, you may want to consider the following next steps:

  • Determine the format for your data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction. (See To Learn More in Part 1 for examples.)
  • Identify the data sources your team wants to use for developing your campus goals and steps for achieving them.
  • Collect and organize your campus’s data.
  • Analyze your data and determine areas of strength and need.
  • Determine your goals.
  • Plan steps to achieve your goals.
  • Solicit input from teachers and other stakeholders regarding the plan.

Assignment

L3. Create and implement a data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.

With your site/campus-based leadership team, review your team’s self-assessed rating for Action Step L3 in the TSLP Implementation Status Ratings document and then respond to the four questions in the assignment.

TSLP Implementation Status Ratings K–5

In completing your assignment with your team, the following resources and information from this lesson’s content may be useful to you:

  • Refer to Part 1 for information about creating your campus’s data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.
  • Refer to Part 2 for information about using data to inform, assess, and revise goals and actions in the data-informed plan.
  • Refer to Part 3 for information about planning for professional development that supports the implementation of your plan.

Next Steps also contains suggestions that your campus may want to consider when you focus your efforts on this Action Step.

To record your responses, go to the Assignment template for this lesson and follow the instructions.