The purpose of these learning series’ is to support participants in deepening their understanding of effectively using data in a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).
The conditions or culture for effective data use are foundational to sustain data practices over time. “It is the task of school and district leaders to establish the vision and work toward it with strategic attention given to the three conditions for data use” (Ronka, Geier & Marciniak, 2010). In this Series, participants will learn about and explore the necessary conditions including data culture, data capacity and data quality.
The Introductory Module for Series 1, Leading a Culture of Effective Data Use, provides a flyover view of the series’ modules; the most effective way to use/view the modules; how to access and use handouts; and, details about the pre- and post- assessment you will be required to participate in to receive continuing education credits.
A strong data culture results when an organization believes in continuous improvement and regularly puts that belief into practice. In the first module of this series learners will explore and come to understand the elements of a strong culture of data, including commitment, vision, beliefs, accountability, collaboration, modeling, and commitment to ongoing instructional and programmatic improvements. Learners will identify strategies to strengthen the district’s data culture.
Conditions for effective data use include culture, quality and capacity. “It takes concerted and deliberate effort for school and district administrators to put the necessary conditions for data use in place that support and empower data-driven actions” (Bernhardt, 2013). In this module, the focus is data capacity and data quality. Learners will align data capacity and quality practices and summarize next steps to impact district data practices.
In the first Data learning series, Leading a Culture of Effective Data Use, we focused on the culture, capacity and quality of data and set a foundation for this learning series, Engaging in Data-Based Decision Making. We want to foster coherence by connecting all three of the Data learning series and your vision of improving outcomes for all students. Establishing a data culture (Series 1) allows districts and schools to engage in authentic data-based decision making (Series 2) and creating a plan for improvement using data to inform decisions (Series 3).
The Introductory Module for Series 2, Engaging in Data-Based Problem Solving, provides a flyover view of the series’ modules; the most effective way to use/view the modules; how to access and use handouts; and, details about the pre- and post- assessment you will be required to participate in to receive continuing education credits.
Continuous improvement helps districts advance their entire system – a framework to improve teaching for all teachers and learning for all students. Continuous improvement happens by using a problem-solving method of decision-making. The Illinois MTSS Network utilizes and will demonstrate in our learning sessions, a 4-step process. In this module, learners will compare the four-step problem-solving approach to their district’s framework for continuous improvement.
A comprehensive data profile is a tool to organize, house, and provide access to the school’s data. Bernhardt says that a data profile tells the story of the district and school. Analyzing multiple sources of data provides district and school teams a more comprehensive picture of the reality that currently exists in their district or school. The first step then is to fully understand and describe each of the data measures that make up a comprehensive data profile. In this module, we will explore the four specific data types that need to be collected at the beginning of the continuous improvement journey.
Data use is a process that integrates the analysis of educational data to support decisions intended to improve teaching and learning at the school and classroom levels. In this module, we will lead you through a process that brings all of the data together and engages staff to identify strengths, challenges, and implications for the continuous district/school improvement plan. By engaging in this learning, you will be able to identify the six steps of the data analysis process and compare these steps to the process that your district and/or school teams currently use.
To understand how and why the organization is getting the results it is getting now; what is working and what is not working; and, to learn more about what to do differently to get different results, we need to delve deeper into the data to get answers. In Module 4, Parts 1 and 2, you will apply the knowledge and skills you learned in Modules 1 – 3 to delve deeper into data analysis. In Part 1, your objective is to understand how intersections of data measures support deeper analysis and then apply intersections of multiple measures of data for a deeper analysis. In Part 2, you will demonstrate an understanding of contributing cause analysis and apply this understanding to engage in contributing cause analysis.
Improving how we work, specifically within the continuum of improvement planning, leads to improved student outcomes. “The ultimate goal of continuous school (or district) improvement is to create learning organizations that have the ability to develop their capacity to create the results they desire” (Bernhardt, 2013).
The Introductory Module for Series 3, Engaging in Planning to Reach the Vision, provides a flyover view of the series’ modules; the most effective way to use/view the modules; how to access and use handouts; and, details about the pre- and post- assessment you will be required to participate in to receive continuing education credits.
“To create a district/school vision that is truly shared, we must begin with the personal and move to the collective. In other words, to create a district/school vision that is committed to unanimously and understood in the same way by everyone – we must build on the values and beliefs of staff to create core values and beliefs” (Bernhardt, 2013). This is the solid foundation and shaping force for a shared vision that will get implemented. By the end of this module, learners will describe how shared vision and values focus and drive continuous improvement efforts.
After determining the values, mission, vision, and goals, the continuous school improvement plan will spell out how all these actions are going to occur. To get the shared vision implemented, a strong plan based on collaborative structures and data use is necessary to improve learning for all students. In this learning session our guiding question is “How are we going to get to where we want to be?”. Digging into this question pushes us to think deeply about the steps of plan development including goals with measurable objectives, indicators, strategies, and measures.
Successful implementation of the continuous improvement plan will require the entire system to move forward. The most powerful approaches to implementing a vision and plan focus on supportive implementation strategies including: leadership, professional learning, and partnership development. During this session, each of these strategies will be explored as we learn how a continuous improvement plan moves the whole system toward the vision.
Evaluation is a fundamental component of the continuous improvement framework and hones in on the all-important question: Is what we are doing making a difference? To answer this over-arching question requires us to ask key, critical
questions about programs in order to improve them and help them be accountable. Evaluation in continuous improvement, using multiple sources of data, provides real-time feedback for development and implementation. By the end of this session, learners will describe the process for monitoring the implementation of the continuous improvement plan.
In Data Series 3, we have taken our learning journey from creating a shared vision to creating a continuous improvement plan, implementing the plan and monitoring the plan. In the fifth and final module of this series we will explore pulling together all the pieces of continuous improvement into a timeline that spells out what needs to be done, when, and by whom, as well as tools that are available. The timeline will help us make sure that all parts of the continuous improvement framework are addressed, help us to make sure we are not cutting out parts of the framework, and support the journey of districts/schools as learning organizations.