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Action Step and Orientation

R1. Establish a system between sites and campuses for reporting student data to facilitate student transitions.

This lesson focuses on ensuring that a system for sharing data is in place to facilitate successful student transitions.

Part 1 describes how data management systems can support the transfer of data during student transitions.

Part 2 describes the ways in which educators on a campus can use data to support student success during transitions from school to school.

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—Managing Data to Facilitate Student Transitions

Data use in education is widespread, and educators are using more and more data to understand student needs. As students move from campus to campus, it is important for data to move with them so that teachers at receiving schools can continue to target instruction and services to meet students’ learning needs.

To ensure data is accessible to students’ teachers as students move from school to school, many practitioners and researchers recommend using a district-wide data management system. These one-stop data shops put all the data for each student in one place and make it easy for educators to use multiple sources of data to make decisions about students. In addition, these systems help keep data together when students transfer from campus to campus.

Many larger school districts build their own data management systems, while many smaller districts purchase access to data management systems from outside vendors. Whether built or bought, these data management systems enable users to easily log in to one central location and access the many sources of data that are necessary to modify instruction and improve student achievement.

These are some sources of data that you and your team may want to ensure are included in your data system:

  • STAAR and state assessment data
  • Reading screener data (beginning of year [BOY], middle of year [MOY], end of year [EOY])
  • TELPAS / English language proficiency data
  • Locally developed, curriculum-based assessments
  • Course grades
  • Attendance records
  • Behavior records
  • Student schedules
  • Student services (e.g., special education, gifted and talented [GT], special language instruction)
  • Student demographic information (e.g., gender, socioeconomic status [SES], ethnicity)

The processes by which districts create data management systems are beyond the scope of this course. More information about this process can be found in the To Learn More section. If your district does not have a true one-stop data shop, however, you may want to consider creating a kind of “cheat sheet” for the staff on your campus. This cheat sheet should list all of the sources of data that educators on your campus can use to make instructional decisions and state exactly where this information can be found. Put this information on one document and distribute among your staff.

It is important that a written plan be developed for the data management system. This written plan should clearly articulate the expectations for use of the system and the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders. For example, you should provide your staff with a timeline to clarify when data will be collected, entered, and accessible for use by campus teachers when a new student enrolls. In addition, expectations should be clarified as to what data are available for teachers and what ways these data can be used to guide instruction. The goal is for teachers to use data to get a picture of their new students’ strengths and needs, just as they do at BOY, MOY and EOY data meetings. You and your team will want to make sure these expectations are attainable and measureable so that you can provide feedback to staff. You will also want to consider how to assess what support staff may need to meet these expectations.

For additional discussion on setting routines and expectations for using data, see the Part 2 of Lesson E1—Data to inform instruction in the Effective Instructional Framework module of this course.

To ensure the effective collection and sharing of data, you and your team may want to identify a person or team responsible for data management. Data management may be the staff member’s main function, or it may be integrated into the responsibilities of one or more members of your staff. If you create a data team, be sure to include stakeholders who can provide input from many aspects of a campus. As champions of data use, the school-wide data team can further clarify what data are available and how they can be used. Additionally, the team can create written plans and timelines outlining data entry and data review. When considering student transitions, the school-wide data team might identify the important data that must be collected from incoming students and sent with outgoing students and ensure a process is established to share data with other campuses. In some cases, campuses rely on their campus-based leadership team (CBLT) or members of their CBLT to provide these services.

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TO LEARN MORE: The following resource provides more information about managing data to support student transitions.

The What Works Clearinghouse at the Institute of Education Sciences has created a useful practice guide, Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making, which provides excellent guidance on effective district data management systems. Specifically, “Recommendation 5: Develop and maintain a districtwide data system” on page 39 might be most relevant to you and your team.

Part 2—Interpret and Use Data Effectively to Facilitate Student Transitions

Transitioning from campus to campus can be difficult for students, especially those who were already struggling prior to transitioning (Cauley & Jovanovich, 2006). This is true for students who are transferring within a district, across districts, or even upward within a feeder pattern. Data and data management systems can go a long way to assist educators in supporting students during times of transition.

By using data effectively during transitions, schools can increase attendance, improve student achievement, and even curb student dropout later (Balfanz, 2011). Making sure receiving schools have student data as soon as possible enables the schools to provide targeted instruction and act in preventative, rather than reactive, ways. For example, screener data and intervention records that are passed along with a transitioning student can enable the new school to immediately begin Tier II intervention services at the start of the year, rather than react after the student has already begun to struggle in his or her new classes. In this case, the previous school’s sharing data and the new school’s using that data enable the student to receive needed services that might not have been otherwise provided.

Because data can be such a powerful tool, schools should send as much data as possible when students transition or transfer. In order to use data effectively during transitions, however, educators must know how to interpret the data collected at students’ previous campuses. Learning to interpret data collected on other campuses can be difficult, and the nuances can be lost in brief trainings. Many researchers recommend having administrators and counselors from both campuses meet to discuss the transitioned data. While this may not be easily done during out-of-district transitions, this practice is entirely feasible for regular transitions within a district feeder pattern. When administrators and counselors meet, they should define the data that are collected, clarify how analyses can be done, and explain the practical implications that come from analyzing these data.

In addition to seeking understanding of the existing data, schools should evaluate if it is necessary to collect additional data about a new student. This might be especially true for students who have traditionally struggled academically or behaviorally at their previous campuses (Anderson, Jacobs, Schramm, & Splittgerber, 2000). For example, when a student transfers to a campus, it might be necessary to administer the local reading screener rather than relying on screener data administered in another district. Another district’s screener may be valid and reliable, but the results gleaned from the assessment must be meaningful to educators on your campus.

Data should also be used to determine appropriate placement of students new to your campus. You will want to consider not only grade level but also services provided through special education, bilingual and English as a second language (ESL) programs, and gifted and talented programs. Information about previous placement should be used along with assessment data sent from the previous school and any additional assessment you conduct. Consult program specialists when delineating placement procedures for special programs such as bilingual/ESL and special education to ensure compliance with state and federal guidelines. For example, forms such as parental consent and home language surveys may be transferred along with other student data and may not need to be replicated.

You will also need to consider student placement with regard to intervention services provided in your response to intervention (RTI) framework. Typically, students who were receiving intervention services at a previous campus continue to receive services at their new campus. However, depending on the two campuses’ RTI plans, this may not be true. For example, students might qualify for Tier II services at your campus based on their transitioned screener data, but not have received intervention services at their previous campus. In this case, it might be beneficial for educators on your campus to collect more data about the students to understand why intervention was not provided and consider providing the students with intervention services in the meantime.

Finally, transitioned data can be used to guide core instruction in general education settings. It is important to ensure that classroom teachers have access to transitioned data as quickly as possible so they might use this data to guide their instruction and provide students with appropriate instruction as soon as possible after a transfer or transition.

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TO LEARN MORE: When collecting and analyzing data, it is important to remember the features of effective data and effective data use. For more information on this important topic, you can reference the five Assessment lessons of this course. It may be especially useful to read Lesson A1—Literacy assessment plan (especially Part 1) and Lesson A2—Identifying students at risk.

REL Northeast and Islands has created Practitioner Data Use in Schools: Workshop Toolkit to help teachers and administrators use education data more systematically and accurately, including during student transitions. The toolkit includes an agenda, slide deck, participant workbook, and facilitator’s guide, and the workshop can be customized for specific contexts.

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NEXT STEPS: Depending on your progress in using assessment data during student transitions, you may want to consider the following next steps:

  • Evaluate the existing data management system(s) in place on your campus and determine if consolidation of data management systems would be advantageous for teachers and other users. Consider creating supports for educators on your campus if consolidation is not possible (e.g., creating a data management systems guide).
  • Define the written procedures and timelines for reporting data for students transitioning to another campus (end of year and throughout).
  • Define the written procedures and timelines for collecting data for students transitioning from another campus (beginning of year and throughout).
  • Collaborate with other campuses in your district to establish mutually agreed upon procedures for sharing student data for incoming and outgoing students.
  • Train all staff (including English learner specialists, classroom and elective teachers, and counselors) on data use and ensure the use of new (or incoming) student data to inform instruction and assessment of transferred students.

Assignment

R1. Establish a system between sites and campuses for reporting student data to facilitate student transitions.

With your site/campus-based leadership team, review your team’s self-assessed rating for Action Step R1 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 an explanation of how data management systems can support the transfer of data during student transitions.
  • Refer to Part 2 for information about the ways in which educators on a campus can use data to support successful student transitions.

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.

References

Anderson, L. W., Jacobs, J., Schramm, S., & Splittgerber, F. (2000). School transitions: Beginning of the end or a new beginning. International Journal of Educational Research, 33, 325–339.

Balfanz, R. (2011). Back on track to graduate. Educational Leadership, 68(7), 54–58.

Cauley, K. M., & Jovanovich, D. (2006). Developing an effective transition program for students entering middle school or high school. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 80(1), 15–25.