Poster_dvanloo_ ct EDLD 655 March 2012

Empowering School Leaders’ Data Driven
Decision-Making Through Technology
Dave VanLoo, Assessment Director, Bend-La Pine Schools
EDLD 655 University of Oregon March 6, 2012
Introduction & Goal
The school improvement goal is to increase administrators’ and
school leaders’ ability to use the school district’s data warehouse
tool to analyze data related to learning and school improvement.
The school district is in the midst of substantial changes in its
technology-related data systems. Among the greatest changes is
the introduction of a new data warehousing and reporting tool the
district is developing. Previous data systems in the district
typically only provided various predefined reports to address a
limited number of questions. The new tool offers similar reports,
while also providing substantial analytic capabilities allowing
users to create custom reports and graphs to address their own
unique research questions. Data systems giving school leaders
the ability to interact with data and define specific action research
questions are a powerful tool for school improvement. However,
new and unfamiliar systems require training if school leaders are
to use the tool to improve teaching and learning in their schools.
Essential Skills for Principals & School Leaders
Access to data often raises as many new questions as answers.
Effective principals must be skilled at analyzing, communicating,
and using data to inform decision-making and measure the
progress within their school. According to the National Association
of Elementary School Principals, critical data-use skills for school
leaders include:
•Making performance data a primary driver for school
•Measuring student, adult, and school performance using a variety
of data
•Building capacity of adults and students to use knowledge
effectively to make decisions
•Making results transparent and understandable to the entire
school community.
Importance of Data Visualization
Data visualization and data warehousing are becoming essential
elements of the way organizations operate. Effective data
visualization in the form of charts, tables, or other graphical
representations enables users to better understand data and use it
to achieve important short-term and long-term objectives (Eckerson
& Hammond, 2011). Educational research has demonstrated that
graphing of student performance data leads to better student
outcomes than simply recording data (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1986).
Schools and districts increasingly utilize technology to store,
manage, and report the majority of their critical data. Tools are
becoming more effective “one-stop” repositories where previously
disparate sources of data can be linked. Such powerful tools
empower users to explore data. Schools can move beyond simply
reporting data to engaging in action research, answering questions
that are unique to their site to improve teaching and learning.
Options for Achieving Goal
1. Create several screencasts demonstrating the process of
creating reports to answer specific research questions.
• Advantages: Visually appealing; Scheduling flexibility for
• Disadvantages: Time consuming--video likely would need to
be watched multiple times; Small size of computer screens
requires toggling back and forth between video and data
system; No personal interaction
Example of Action Research Using
School Discipline Data
The table below is a standard report from the district’s
reporting system. This report displays a count of
reported behavior incidents by location. Approximately
85% of this school’s reported incidents occur in the
classroom. The graphs to the right and below are
examples of additional pertinent questions school
leaders can easily research within the system, if they
are trained.
2. Schedule series of optional “classes” to provide hands-on
• Advantages: Personalized interaction
• Disadvantages: Inefficient--users’ schedules vary and likely
would result in low turnout or require several trainings on the
same topic.
Are numbers of classroom referrals similar across grade levels?
This chart displays the number of classroom behavior
incidents by grade level.
8th grade has more than double the classroom incidents of
other grades.
Do classroom incidents vary by staff member?
3. Periodically distribute PDF tutorials, each containing sample
relevant research questions, step by step directions, and
screenshots of necessary steps.
• Advantages: Efficient--tutorial is printable reference that
would be convenient to use with the computer; Scheduling
flexibility for users.
• Disadvantages: No personal interaction
This chart displays the number of classroom behavior
incidents by staff member.
A small number of staff report discipline incidents at a
disproportionately high rate.
Option #3 (PDF tutorials) was selected because it offers the
greatest flexibility and ease of use for staff. Budget and staffing
impacts are negligible. Users can access the tutorials at their
convenience. The tutorials are free to create and disseminate.
Staff can log into the data system and use the tutorials at their
Which problem behaviors are most prevalent in classrooms?
This spring (approximately once per month) PDF tutorials will be
electronically distributed to school leaders.
This chart displays which problem behaviors were reported.
The value of tutorials can be assessed by tracking staff’s use of
the data warehouse and through solicited feedback.
The efficacy of the tutorials will help determine the need for other
training options, such as face-to-face trainings that may be
scheduled next fall.
Most behaviors relate to tardiness, disruptive, or disrespectful behavior.
What are our responses to incidents in the classroom?
Are our actions effective at reducing misbehavior?
Eckerson, W. & Hammond, M. (2011) Visual Reporting and Analysis: Seeing is Knowing, from
Fuchs, L.S., & Fuchs, D. (1986). Effects of systematic formative evaluation: A meta-analysis.
Exceptional Children, 53, 199-208.
Leading Learning Communities: Standards for What Principals Should Know and Do, National
Association of Elementary School Principals, Second Ed. (2008)
This chart displays what action the school took in response to
the reported classroom incident.
There appears to be essentially one response: Some form of
This chart displays the number of classroom incidents by
month for the current school year.