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Action Step and Orientation

R3. Examine and communicate campus performance data and progress toward goals in the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.

Action Step R3 calls for schools to analyze student performance data and communicate their findings to all stakeholders.

In Part 1 of this lesson, you will learn how data analysis can become systematic at your school.

Part 2 of this lesson outlines the key stakeholders and examines some ways in which communication with stakeholders about data can be most meaningful.

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—Analyze Campus Performance Data

To fully impact student learning outcomes, all teachers and staff at your school must understand how to interpret overall student performance data. In addition, all teachers and staff must understand how to disaggregate data for students across different subgroups. Data analysis helps highlight where strengths and weaknesses are, an important step in setting goals for growth. In other words, systematic and consistent data analysis can help create a culture of improvement and encourage a mindset of “94% passing isn’t good enough. What can we do for the small number of students who are still struggling?”

Data should be used to evaluate the progress of current literacy initiatives at your school. For example, if your school is training many teachers in the use of explicit vocabulary instruction, data can be used to determine how the initiative is improving vocabulary outcomes for students. This can be done through standardized measures or through less reliable measures such as teacher-created assessments. Lesson A5—Evaluating overall literacy performance in the Assessment module provides an extensive discussion about using data to evaluate overall program effectiveness; you and your team may decide to review that lesson when you begin work on this Action Step.

Data should also be used to inform the development and revision of your data-informed plan, an evolving plan that is constantly adjusted as current initiatives are implemented and evaluated. For a detailed explanation of the plan, see Lesson L3—Data-informed plan in the Leadership module.

Another important way for you and your team to use data is to prioritize what Action Steps to focus on from the Texas State Literacy Plan. It is not possible to focus your improvement efforts on all Action Steps of the TSLP at once. You and your team should use various sources of data to determine which Action Step(s) and Indicators will provide greater leverage for improvement at your school. For more information on choosing specific Action Steps to focus improvement efforts, please see Lesson I1—Narrowing the focus in the Implementation module in this course.

British writer G.K. Chesterton once said, “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.” Likewise, you and your team may need to review the existing systems at your school before attempting to change them. It is important to gather information about how data are being used by all stakeholders at your school. This can be done through surveys, individual interviews, or focus-group interviews.

When interacting with these various stakeholders, consider how performance data are being used to monitor program effectiveness, inform your data-informed plan, and prioritize Action Steps in need of improvement. When first gathering information in this way, you and your team will create a baseline that can be used to judge the impact of change in the future. In addition, gathering information such as this enables you and your team to more fully understand what current data-use practices are and how performance data can be used more systematically.

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TO LEARN MORE: You and your team might want to review the following resource for more information about program monitoring:

Program Monitoring: The Role of Leadership in Planning, Assessment, and Communication is part of a series on program monitoring created by Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Pacific. This guide provides a straightforward introduction to using data to understand systems for educators who are new to these concepts, and it may also serve as a refresher for educators who are already familiar with logic models and program monitoring.

Part 2—Communicate Performance Data to All Stakeholders

As data are analyzed and progress toward goals is measured, it is important to communicate these analyses with stakeholders in your school community.

Communicating the results of data analyses can be a powerful way to motivate change and encourage continued progress toward school-wide goals. Results of these analyses need to be widely shared if they are to truly bring about change. For example, data analysis by a 3rd-grade teacher team might reveal that a reading intervention is particularly effective for struggling students. If these results are shared, other teachers on the campus can learn from the 3rd-grade team’s analysis and possibly replicate their work.

More than simply reporting raw data, taking time to discuss data analysis can help ensure that analyses are not unintentionally twisted by unrecognized biases. Having conversations about data analysis enables others to offer alternate hypotheses for changes in data. For example, a campus-based leadership team may hypothesize that an increase in student absences is due to sickness, while teachers may understand that parental seasonal work may be driving many absences. This discussion can lead to further investigation and data collection to reveal the factors influencing attendance. Regular conversations about data also provide faculty ongoing opportunities to build their data savvy and learn more about the students they serve.

Families and community members also have a vested interest in the success of public schools in their neighborhood. Action Step R3 calls for you to share performance data with students’ families and the larger community. In addition to any state-required reporting of performance data, it can be especially powerful to share progress toward school goals with these stakeholders.

It is important to present data in ways that are understandable to the particular audience. With staff, the use of technical language and education acronyms such as BOY, MOY, and EOY are helpful. When all members of the discussion are familiar with it, this language can actually help educators communicate with more precision.

However, when communicating with families and community members, educational jargon or technical language should be avoided at all costs. Data should be explained in ways that make sense to lay persons. Analyses should be straightforward. Graphics can help explain complex analyses in simple ways. Remember to ensure that information about student performance data is communicated to families using languages they understand well.

Beyond being understandable, data should also be explained so it is meaningful to each stakeholder. Data that are meaningful for staff may be less meaningful to leaders in the local community or families of students. For example, what is meaningful for teachers and staff are the data that inform their work and help them improve outcomes for students, such as class averages on a BOY (beginning of the year) reading screener. Meaningful data for families relate directly to their children and their progress toward academic and non-academic goals, such as individual student progress from the beginning of the year (BOY) to the middle of the year (MOY) or the end of the year (EOY). This information can also be coupled with the ways in which the school will be continuing to support students’ successes.

Finally, performance data and progress toward goals should be shared and communicated with the community in multiple ways. Traditionally, schools communicate with families and community members through newsletters, but schools are increasingly thinking of new ways to share information. More and more, schools use their websites, email, and social media to share performance data. Integrating performance data throughout all communication can be powerful. For example, in a meeting for parents of incoming students, a principal can quickly communicate the school’s progress toward its goals in a straightforward way.

While data analysis is becoming common in schools, it is most effective when its use is systematic and when results are regularly communicated to all stakeholders. As you and your team discuss this Action Step, consider how you can encourage more systematic and meaningful analysis, use, and communication of data.

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TO LEARN MORE: The following resource may be helpful for you and your team as you create a plan to communicate data:

Tips for Administrators, Teachers, and Families: How to Share Data Effectively, developed by the Harvard Family Research Project, helps administrators, teachers, and families determine the best ways to share student data in meaningful ways on a regular basis to strengthen family-school partnerships and promote student learning. The tip sheets include examples of data-sharing practices that illustrate how administrators, teachers, and families can adopt a data-driven approach to supporting student learning.

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NEXT STEPS: Depending on your progress in using and communicating performance data and communicating progress toward goals, you may want to consider the following next steps:

  • Gather information to understand how systematically performance data are being analyzed at your school. Specifically, consider how performance data are being used to monitor program effectiveness, inform your data-informed plan, and prioritize the Action Steps on which your improvement efforts are focused.
  • Evaluate how progress toward goals is being communicated with all stakeholders. Consider if communication efforts are most appropriate for the specific audience.
  • Evaluate existing professional development systems at your school to determine if teachers are adequately supported as they analyze performance data.
  • Use effective professional development practices to train staff on data use and communication of progress toward goals.
  • Define written processes and timelines for data analysis procedures. Specifically, consider procedures in which data analyses are used to monitor program effectiveness, inform your data-informed plan, and prioritize the Action Steps on which your improvement efforts are focused.
  • Define written procedures and timelines to communicate data analysis results and progress toward goals.
  • Identify gaps that exist between existing procedures and timelines and ideal procedures and timelines.

Assignment

R3. Examine and communicate campus performance data and progress toward goals in the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.

With your site/campus-based leadership team, review your team’s self-assessed rating for Action Step R3 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 using performance data to inform progress toward goals.
  • Refer to Part 2 for information about communicating data analysis results to staff, families of students, and community members.

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.

Completion

Follow instructions provided by your school or district.