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 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. Background 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 improvement •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. POSTER TEMPLATE BY: www.POSTERPRESENTATIONS.com 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 users. • 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 training. • 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. Plan 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 convenience. Which problem behaviors are most prevalent in classrooms? Timeline 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? Sources Eckerson, W. & Hammond, M. (2011) Visual Reporting and Analysis: Seeing is Knowing, from TDWI.org 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 detention. This chart displays the number of classroom incidents by month for the current school year.