As school teams work through their Comprehensive Needs Assessment process, an important task is that of determining the data points to consider for determining whether the objectives have been met. The challenge for school teams, is there is usually more than one data piece that can be tied in because we (1) want to triangulate data, and (2) can’t really say that one action led to one result. It’s more like, “We’ll be taking this set of action steps, and as a result, we expect to see differences in the data in these areas.” Rather than chug all the data together, I recommend school teams to organize data by content area. The accountability systems across the nation look at assessment results by content area, so schools are held accountable for those results. In all fairness to themselves, they need to see where they stand. More importantly, for many improvement efforts, the work is also planned and implemented through a content area as a natural organizer, such as reading.
For many school teams, figuring out what Key Performance Indicators to use is an issue that is easy to resolve. It starts with an understanding of the types of data that might be used for a content area. So today, I want to share a visual with examples of data points that could be used in the content area of reading, or English Language Arts.
I have divided the data into three categories: Learning for All, Opportunity for All, and Inviting for All. The purpose of the three categories is to ensure that a school is looking at required data for ESSA. So, under Learning for All, you’ll see data about proficiency and growth scores on state and benchmark assessments. This data is disaggregated by subgroup, and also looks at achievement gaps. This category can have other types of data as well including grades in courses and percentages of students earning successful scores on AP exams.
The Opportunity for All category provides data, related to reading/English Language Arts, that might show students have equitable opportunities. The data reflects enrollment in honors courses, AP courses, special education, and more. It also includes percentages of students receiving assistance, as that is what school improvement is all about.
In the Inviting for All category, the data includes climate data that matches well to reading. It reflects that inviting aspects of what a school team might like to see: students who love to read books and understand what we ask them to do. Students who feel like they are successful readers. Teachers who feel like they know what steps to take when students struggle – and have the tools they need to take those steps. And then parents who know the value of reading.
As what we work on year-in and year-out for students in the area of reading, these three categories reflect an overall picture – from the head to the heart – of how things are progressing.