Since 2001, teachers have felt the personal burden and responsibility for improving student achievement. State and county administrators have felt that pressure as well, but it is the classroom teacher who is on the front line of this battle to raise student performance on the mandated assessments. We as educators are swimming in data we have collected, but data collection by itself accomplishes very little. Data must be analyzed and personalized to serve its most beneficial purpose.
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).
The professionals at MHEC can help teachers examine their classroom routines, curriculum, state standards, record keeping, pacing, and student behavior in the classroom to improve the delivery of instruction and enhance student performance. Data teams that meet regularly build collaboration among grade level teams, “put faces on the data,” and provide an opportunity for embedded professional development. MHEC will assist with establishing these groups and model their implementation.