Well, it’s the middle of September and for many teachers and campus leaders that means the school year is beginning to settle in to a routine. It also means teachers are starting to get some data on how students are doing. The data can be student daily work, formative assessments, project based learning product, or performance assessments just to name a few. The question then becomes, “what do we do with the data?”
An effective data review process will look at all available data (including individual and collective data) on the campus with the express purpose of guiding intervention support. An important consideration beyond just looking at data and deciding on interventions for students is the process by which interventions will be monitored and reviewed.
Allow me to share with you a 3 phase process to guide your data review efforts. I call the guide a “Target for Purposeful Focus”. Phase 1 is Key Data and focuses on gathering and organizing your data in order to accurately understand current performance levels and trends while also prioritizing performance concerns. Phase 2 is Intervention and Supports and focuses on setting performance targets, identifying solutions and action
steps, implementing intervention and support systems, and pursuing a problem of practice. Phase 3 is Monitoring and Review which focuses on identifying measurable objectives, using on-going progress monitoring, and identifying critical evidence of intervention success.
The graphic below illustrates how the 3 phases work together to frame your data review efforts. As with any on-going or cyclical process, there is no rigid or linear structure to which phase comes first, second, or third. In fact, effective teams will take aim at multiple areas of the target throughout their data dig, intervention support, and monitoring or review process. Student performance and the effectiveness of your intervention supports will drive where your focus is during the process. As you begin the process you will typically start in the center with the data and move outward on the target but your student and campus needs may dictate you return to another phase (or ring) on the target. Effective use of data will utilize all 3 phases of the target and allow teachers and leaders to develop a more focused intervention plan while supporting those efforts with clear evidence of success or a need for further adjustments.