What Are the “Relevant” Data?

The nurse records your blood pressure and pulse, and asks you to put on a hospital gown. The physician comes in, examines your feet, takes a look at your file, and immediately writes you a prescription for an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug. You are assured that you do not have athlete’s foot but that you are experiencing ADHD. You are advised to take two pills twice a day and try harder to relax. The physician tells you to get dressed and then leaves the room. You realize your “exam” is over. You have been diagnosed based on irrelevant and insufficient data. The physician did not collect data that were useful to the diagnostic process, review multiple sources of valid data, or identify gaps in the data that were available. The result was you were given the wrong treatment, and thus, your condition may remain the same or worsen. It was not the prognosis you expected.Similar experiences can occur within schools and across districts. Student test scores may be low, but rather than complete a thorough diagnostic process, leaders may make decisions about next steps without considering all, or the correct, data. A district that is seeking to improve instruction and student learning must establish a data-driven culture that considers valid multiple measures.Data-Driven Culture and the Diagnostic ProcessMaking a conscious effort to create and maintain a valid supply of data is the first step in building a foundation to support a robust diagnostic process. The correct “diagnosis” based on the right combination of data is necessary before the appropriate “treatment” can be prescribed. As an organization strives to create a data-driven culture, it collects a vast amount of data that have varying degrees of importance relative to supporting effective instruction. As a leader in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, you will be skilled in discriminating among the data to identify those that are useful to the diagnostic process.The focus of this module is to do just that: examine existing data and identify missing data in order to begin the diagnostic process.Vision, Mission, and GoalsFinally, it is very difficult to arrive at a desired location until you know where it is. Just as the failure of some businesses can be attributed to a lack of, or poorly defined, vision, mission, and goals, the same may be said of school districts. It is no less important for school districts that are in the “business” of supporting student learning to articulate a commitment to delivering high-quality instruction to all students. As a Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (CIA) leader, you may find it necessary to defend the importance of a well-defined vision and mission. You may be asked to explain how a vision and mission unite stakeholders and contribute to the effectiveness of a district’s efforts. Your success may depend to a large extent upon the degree to which you ensure that diagnostic data are in alignment with a district’s vision, mission, and goals.In this module, you will evaluate the importance of alignment between diagnostic data and a district’s vision, mission, and goals.Learning ObjectivesStudents will:Evaluate the degree of alignment between diagnostic data and a district’s vision, mission, and goalsValidate the importance of a school district’s vision and mission statements when seeking alignment with diagnostic data and processesEvaluate the alignment of a school district’s vision, mission, and data with its instructional policies and practicesLearning ResourcesRequired ReadingsBernhardt, V. L. (2016). Data, data everywhere: Bringing all the data together for continuous school improvement (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.Chapter 2, “The Continuous School Improvement Framework” (pp. 7–16)Chapter 3, “Who We Are: Demographic Data” (pp. 17–28)Chapter 9, “Where We Want to Go: Creating A Shared Vision” (pp. 69–78)Chapter 10, “How We Can Get to Where We Want to Be: Implementing the Shared Vision” (pp. 79–86)Document: Alignment and Achievement Worksheet (Word document)Document: Data Analysis Worksheet (Word document)Data ReviewThe following states have sophisticated data portals that allow you to drill down to the district and school level.California Department of Education. (2011). Data & statistics. Retrieved February 24, 2016, from http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/State of New Jersey Department of Education. (2014). DOE data & reports. Retrieved February 24, 2016, from http://www.state.nj.us/education/data/School Improvement in Maryland. (2016). Index. Retrieved February 24, 2016, from http://mdk12-archive.msde.maryland.gov/Mission and VisionCohen, J., & Geier, V. K. (2010). School climate research summary: January 2010. Center for Social and Emotional Education: School Climate Brief, 1(1), 1–6. Retrieved from http://cshca-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/SCBrief_v1n1_Jan2010.pdfMind Tools. (2016). Mission and vision statements: Unleashing the power of purpose. Retrieved February 24, 2016, from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_90.htmTexas Association of School Boards. (2016). Frequently asked questions about district vision statements. Retrieved February 24, 2016, from http://www.tasb.org/services/lts/resources/vision_goals/vision_qa.aspxRequired MediaLaureate Education (Producer). (2011e). Data-driven instruction and assessment: Dashboards, part l [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 8 minutes.Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload TranscriptLaureate Education (Producer). (2011a). Data-driven instruction and assessment: Assessment and accountability in improving teaching and learning systems [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 13 minutes.Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload TranscriptGrand City CommunityLaureate Education (Producer). (2016a). Data sets [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.Go to the Grand City Community and click into Grand City School District Administration Offices. Review the Grand City School District Report Card.Discussion 1: What Are the “Relevant” Data? and Examining School District AlignmentAs a leader in school-wide or district-wide CIA, you will exchange ideas and perceptions with a variety of administrators, teachers, and others involved in supporting instruction. Before you interpret the data that are available to you, you must determine the extent to which those data are relevant. You will also want to determine if the data needed to support decision making are available. It will be critical not only that you identify the most important diagnostic data yourself, but that you listen and respond to what others may see as the most important or missing data.In addition to the typical examples of relevant school data, such as test scores, attendance, and so forth, many school leaders are recognizing the importance of school climate as relevant data. Be sure to look at both quantitative and qualitative data related to positive learning environments in your analysis as part of the diagnostic process.This module ’s Discussion will provide you an opportunity to review district data and identify strengths, weaknesses, and gaps. You will share your perspectives, reflect on the views of your peers, and respond with further information and/or inquiries to broaden your understanding. By considering the views of others and reflecting on your own, you will create a more comprehensive understanding of the most relevant data and the data that may need to be collected to support collaborative data-driven decision making.To prepare:Review the following:Chapters. 2, 3, 9, and 10 from the course text.The video Data-driven Instruction and Assessment: Dashboards, Part l, in which Dr. Osher describes a “dashboard.”The assigned article “School Climate Research Summary: January 2010” so you may formulate an understanding of how this type of datum may be a part of overall data collection for school improvement.The video Data-driven Instruction and Assessment: Assessment and Accountability in Improving Teaching and Learning Systems, in which Dr. Dohrer discusses the importance of assessing school climate and references this module’s readings on school climate.The assigned article “Mission Statements and Vision Statement: Unleashing Purpose.” Review the Texas Association of School Boards’ information about the importance of district vision statements.Find a mission and vision statement (and goals, if available) from a school district of your choice.