Critical Needs Elementary

Theme - Monitoring: Compilation, Analysis, and Use of Data

Best Practices

  • From classroom to central office, a variety of data are used to monitor progress and assess effectiveness.
  • Progress monitoring and using data to change or develop and test new programs and practices is continuous.
  • Data analysis involves discussions between teachers, specialists, and administrators – a team approach.

A variety of formal and informal assessments are used to monitor progress of students both collectively and individually in “real time.” These may include, for example, weekly tests, teacher constructed tests, projects, bench mark exams, report cards, and New York State assessments, as well as portfolios, running records, projects, and oral presentations. In addition, some higher-performing schools include surveys of parents and students. What is important is that teachers share their results with colleagues and use the data to inform instruction. Teachers and administrators also use data to together evaluate the effectiveness of their programs, practices, and structures, and this is experienced as the norm.

Some differences between higher- and average-performing schools

Educators in higher-performing schools have developed a mindset that includes relying on a variety of data to increase the effectiveness of their instruction with whole classes as well as individual students. Yet they avoid “teaching to the test,” reaching instead to ensure that students acquire the essential underlying knowledge and skills as defined in state standards.

In average-performing schools, individual teachers are moving toward or have begun to use a variety of data to more closely monitor progress but are still struggling to find the balance between preparing students for state assessments and providing high quality instruction that helps students gain deeper knowledge and skills. Data use is seen as disconnected from practice, an imposition from above, and not very useful in informing interventions and resource allocation.

Selected Evidence

A report to the board of education by the principal of the JFK School shows how a variety of data is continuously gathered and analyzed to inform program and practice.

In Columbus, both teachers and students monitor progress, as shown in this memo, including the forms teachers developed to be used by their students and themselves.

Included in Maybrook's Strategic Improvement Plan are the principal's reflections/recommendations, in which she analyzes the school's progress in meeting each of four Action Monitoring Plans. At the classroom level, teachers prepare quarterly Progress Monitoring Reports, including this sample from a coteaching pair.

Centennial Avenue's School Instructional Improvement Plan analyzes school performance data to identify priority areas, including root causes and rationales, followed by an implementation plan for each.

Educators in School 19 developed a grid for teachers to use early in the year to capture student data from an item analysis. Each box would identify the students needing instruction in the skill listed.