Since 2001, there has been an increased emphasis placed upon the data available to educators and various data collection systems, but data collection by itself accomplishes very little. It is only when that data is analyzed and personalized that it serves its most beneficial purpose. That is only part of the challenge that school leaders face. Questions abound about which data are most important, how and when to collect that data, and what to do with it once it is gathered. Fortunately, there are people available to help answer those questions.
Dr. Victoria Bernhardt has identified four types of data that are vital for educational leaders to consider. In her book, Data Analysis for Continuous School Improvement, Bernhardt lists student achievement, perceptual, demographic, and school process data as the vital pieces that must be considered in the school improvement process. Often, we focus only on the student achievement data collected from the annual assessments federal law requires. Demographic data is given a cursory perusal insomuch as it determines our cell size for accountability or federal program grant awards. Bernhardt suggests that, in terms of school improvement, there is much to be gained from looking at all the data available, especially survey findings and examining the way our schools function (Bernhardt, 2013).
Merry Heart Consulting can assist your school with the formation of data teams to examine school achievement data, classroom routines, curriculum, state standards, record keeping, pacing, and student behaviors. These may be horizontal or vertical instructional teams, but it is essential that these teams meet at least quarterly. We will help you set out an agenda, select relevant data, and provide strategies to keep meetings productive and on task.