Use Data to Improve Student Achievement

Schools are not lacking data.  We are data warehouses! We have data all around us- soft data and hard data.  It's not about having enough data.  It's about knowing how to USE the data to improve student achievement.  I'm not going to share why data matters.  I think it is safe to say we know it does.  If your school district does not have a data management system that can disaggregate the data, here are some forms you might like to print and share with your teachers.

I have updated the Targeted Data file on Teachers Pay Teachers.  It now includes Data Inventory Mats for Reading and Math.  All you need to do is use your own school data and create the inventory mat.

Data Inventory Mats for Reading and Math
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Groups can be color-coordinated as shown.  Green, Blue, Yellow, and Red symbolize student groups- Above level, Bubble, Intervention, and Urgent.  When I say bubble, these students are on level or slightly below.  These are the students that worry me the most because they tend to be inconsistent any day of the week.  One minute they are doing okay and then the next they are below level.

Targeted data means looking in-depth at each student, each skill, and each standard to determine a course of action or to determine the root cause of deficiency in student groups or instructional design.  The next step is to set challenging goals and intensive instructional interventions for each group.  It's very important that as leaders we are proactive in our approach when looking at data.

If you are just starting out developing a system of accountability on campus, here are a few suggestions.


1.  Make sure student assessments are reliable forms of measure.  Are you assessing students often enough to get the data?  Is the assessment assessing what it needs to assess?  Are the results really reliable and valid?

2.  Data needs to be used consistently in team meetings, during small group instruction, and a part of your culture of the campus.

3.  The data determines the needs of the students and the needs of the staff.  For example, what do your students need to be successful?  What do your teachers need to ensure students are successful?

4.  Match student needs to the intervention.   (The purpose of any assessment is to identify skills to target for aligning instruction to specific student needs in reading and math.)

5.  Create a culture that supports using data to change instruction and improve student achievement.

Making sense of data is tiresome.  It is even a part of the job that most administrators do not enjoy.  I just so happen to love data analysis.  However, it can be an enormous task for any single administrator.  That's why we need to invite teachers to sit at the data table.  It's so important that teachers analyze their data.  It is not only good practice, but it is meaningful data to them.  They know their students better than you do.  Involve your teachers in setting goals for themselves and their students.  Encourage your teachers to reflect upon their progress to help them determine what worked, what didn't, and what they might do differently next time.

If you are interested in downloading these Data Inventory Mats, check out the Targeted Data file on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Other resources you might like:  Data Talks and Forms

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