Activity Guide

Utilizing Data To Build a School Profile

Principals and teachers cannot make effective instructional decisions without the skillful use of current student data. The information and tables provided in this chapter excerpt can be used as examples of how to use your school’s four data types to create a profile that can inform instructional decision making. Building a school profile that clearly identifies areas of success, deficiencies, achievement gaps, and perceptions is a first step toward making school or program improvements. Identifying what data to gather and analyzing what the data tell us are critical steps in the Process Circle (Module 1) for successful school change. The examples presented are specific to examining and improving mathematics achievement outcomes but can be adapted easily to improve any subject or skill area. Your data team is an accurate resource to support the construction of the school profile.

Reading: “Analyzing Data for Schoolwide and Individual Student Improvement,“ Making the Math Curriculum Count, 2011. Excerpt: Analyzing Data to Complete the School Numeracy Profile, pp. 35–44.

  1. Guide faculty (or data/leadership team) through an examination of this chapter excerpt. Ensure that all participants understand the meaning and role of the various types of data (perceptual, formative, summative, and demographic) by giving examples of each from your local school data. Stress the importance of perceptual data, which is often glossed over or omitted entirely but may impact outcomes.
  2. Next, ask participants to identify what data they have and what data they will need to gather before a school profile can be built. Determine a timeline for assembling the needed data and designate who will take responsibility for the task. To facilitate this process, you can download an Information Gathering Template (Appendix 4). Remember that questions and prompts for this template (and others that follow) may be modified from the mathematics theme by adding supplements or making deletions to customize the tool for the programs or initiatives of your school.
  3. After you have identified what data to gather and shared it with your team or teams,download the following templates:
    • Numeracy Improvement Action Plan Template (Appendix 5) Use this template to:
      • Identify goals
      • Set improvement targets (short- and long-term)
      • Identify and categorize strategies
      • Specify who will take responsibility for tasks and according to what timeline
      • Determine needed resources (professional development, materials, personnel)
      • Make a plan for monitoring progress.
    • School Numeracy Profile Template (Appendix 6). Use this template to:
      • Summarize and categorize the data your teams have gathered
      • Build a “picture“ of what your school, content area, or targeted grade levels look like in terms of academic achievement. If your data collection is complete, this picture should guide your next steps
      • Post or publish your profile.
  • Continue the steps of the Process Circle with the Initiative Planning Tools (see Module I) to explore possible solutions and create an improvement plan with your local school data.