Creating a Data Culture throughout the School
We know from research that early identification of learning needs and grouping children according to those needs is known to maximize instructional impact. So, how do you create a data culture within your school or center where teachers and staff rely on data to determine children’s progress and analyze the results to inform instruction? And how do you as an administrator then use the collective information to monitor, evaluate and revise programs and policies?
Does data drive instructional decisions in your classrooms?
In the classroom, you have likely completed wave one for beginning of the year CIRCLE Progress Monitoring (C-PM). The C-PM, CLI’s assessment system, is designed to be a user-friendly, online tool that allows the teacher to assess a child’s progress in a particular skill area almost instantly. It is a valid and reliable instrument that is age and developmentally appropriate and fair. It is a comprehensive measure and includes all of the Head Start domains, allowing the assessor to collect holistic information on the student.
The most important part of administering the C-PM is knowing how to analyze the results to determine the next steps. The results among other outcomes can identify two things:
- They can determine whether the instructional plans or curriculum were effective for most of the students.
- They identify students that are not proficient in the assessed skill areas and need more targeted intervention.
Children identified as "at-risk" may receive more frequent, more intensive, and/or different types of instruction, often in small groups. This involves identifying each student’s current progress, creating goals for his or her learning that include targeted strategies in areas that are below benchmark, continual monitoring, and providing individual scaffolding. Both informal assessment and ongoing progress monitoring determine whether the interventions and increased instructional support are working.
The C-PM provides small group results with direct links to targeted strategies in the digital online CIRCLE Activity Collection. These activities include exemplar videos, demonstrating the activity with annotations directing the viewer to the why and how as well as scripted modeled lessons with guided practice and scaffolding suggestions. (Please note this link will not work unless you are logged into CLI Engage.)
In section 6 of the Pre-K Response to Intervention Professional Development Online Course, watch Drs. Susan Landry, Carolyn Denton, and Tricia Zucker explain about the value of data and how to consider what data can be used in making important decisions on children that may need greater instructional assistance. (Please note this link will not work unless you are logged into CLI Engage.)
How is data useful to Administrators in making sound program decisions?
Assessments can be used for formative or summative purposes. Formative assessment results are generally used to inform instruction and are responsive to the needs of the learner. Summative assessment results look at a student’s progress based on the instruction and the contributions of the teacher or program related to the individual student’s progress. Summative results may be used by administrators for example to decide on professional development needs for staff or to make decisions regarding program budgets for classroom curriculum and resource materials.
How do you create components of a data–driven school culture?
- Build trust - Use of data is about improving student achievement not teacher performance evaluations. Create a blameless data culture so that everyone is working together to examine the data and collaborate for change.
- Set school wide goals - What is the vision for the school?
- Empower teachers - Support teachers’ use of progress monitoring as part of their teaching and learning cycle (assess-analyze-plan-teach)
- Provide training - Use outcomes to determine staff deficient understandings and provide professional development to increase and improve best practices
- Assess what matters - Only assess what is needful and collect only data on which you will take action.
How can parents collaborate with the school/center to help their child learn?
Teachers, coaches, parents, and administrators can all partner together to use data to inform instruction. The C-PM provides information for parents on interpreting their child’s progress on individualized reports as well as recommended activities to further support their child’s emerging skills.
Making sound decisions for pre-kindergarten student achievement based on data is not only wise but standard practice.
- Barnett, W. S., Riley-Ayers, S., & Francis, J. (2015). Measuring Child Outcomes in the Early Years. Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes.
- Paiva, R. (2010). A political framework for building a data-driven district or school: How to focus on data quality, capacity, and culture supports data-driven action to improve student outcomes. Public Consulting Group News. Retrieved on November 11, 2015, from http://www.publicconsultinggroup.com/news/post/2010/06/28/A-Practical-Framework-for-Building-a-Data-Driven-District-or-School-How-a-Focus-on-Data-Quality-Capacity-and-Culture-Supports-Data-Driven-Action-to-Improve-Student-Outcomes.aspx.
- Pierce, D. (2015) Five Keys to Building a Data-Driven Culture. Sungard K-12 Education Blog