Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Teaching Students Data Skills (continued)


Looking for resources or cool projects to teach students data literacy?  Wondering how to make data engaging and relevant to elementary/middle/high school students?  Below is a collection of websites that provide kid-friendly data or advice on supporting students with data analysis:



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Teaching Students Data Skills

Schools and districts are striving to become that buzz word, "data-driven."  But what about our students?  We recognize that the world around us is changing and the new currency is information.  How do we support our students to become data literate?

Education Development Center (EDC) published an article in January 2015 highlighting what schools need to do differently to support data literacy in students.  Moving beyond the standards for data analysis, the article recommends teaching students to:

  • analyze large and complex data sets- data that has been collected different ways, may be both qualitative and quantitative, and contains the answer to more than one question
  • and data that is professionally collected- moving beyond the class tally chart

Examples of professionally-collected data sets to use with students:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Resources- Practitioner Use of Data

Looking for additional resources or training to support a data-driven school?  REL Northeast & Islands has developed a Practitioner Data Use in Schools- Workbook with support from IES.  You can also take advantage of their self-guided workshop,  Understanding Data Use in Schools.

Upcoming courses in education data:
Making Learning Visible: The Power of Group Learning and Documentation in Classrooms and Communities  Online course on 2/23/15 through the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

SDP Institute for Leadership in Analytics  March 3-6 through the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard Graduate School of Education

Monday, February 9, 2015

Designing a School Data Dashboard

In business, companies often highlight trends in performance:
Schools post data as well, but its often less visible and less clear how it translates to performance.  Posted student work may highlight content students are learning, but don't share information about the level of rigor of the lesson or how students performed, without deeper analysis.  Some schools post graphs showing trends in CPI or SGP, as the school makes gains toward annual targets.  But to most parents, and even some educators, these graphs are difficult to interpret and devoid of meaning.

In developing a school-level data dashboard, make sure it is visible, easy to read, and easy to identify exactly how the school is performing.  Think about a baseball scoreboard- there is a lot of information posted, but with a quick glance the viewer can determine which team is winning and by how much.


When considering what information to include in the data dashboard, consider the school improvement goals.  Beyond improving achievement for students, a school that has identified student behavior as an area of focus might include office referrals, suspension rates or attendance in the data dashboard.  A school that is working to foster teacher collaboration might highlight the number of PLC or team meetings, or the number of co-taught or codeveloped lessons.

Examples of school/district data dashboards:


Additional resources:


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Going beyond student assessment data... A View of Classroom Observation Feedback


Throughout the year, schools and districts collect considerable amount of data on students, ranging from attendance, to demographic, to achievement data.  When we think about the data collected on those who lead and provide instruction, it is typically years of experience, degree attainment, salary, etc.  However, none of this data has shown a strong positive correlation with student achievement.  If we begin to think about our teachers as we do our students, as lifelong learners, what data can we share with teachers to support instructional improvement?

Now in the middle of the year, principals have likely completed at least one round of classroom observations or walkthroughs. While the primary purpose of these observations is typically evaluative, providing accountability feedback to the state and district on teachers' instructional performance, this is also an often overlooked data opportunity.

In a November 2013 analysis report titled "Fixing Classroom Observations," TNTP reflected on the need for high quality feedback following classroom observations, not only as a source of professional development, but also as a data point for teachers.  TNTP cited classroom observations as "the most promising way to help teachers get regular, honest feedback on their teaching... [particularly] as schools try to help teachers adjust to new standards for college and career readiness."

The Best Foot Forward (BFF) study, conducted by the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, is in the middle of a three year study exploring the impact of putting video cameras in the hands of teachers, allowing them to film and select their own lessons for high stakes teacher evaluation systems.  Early evidence indicates that through using video observation

  • 94% of teachers identified areas for development themselves;
  • 88% of teachers felt that watching themselves on video would change their instructional practice;
  • school leaders used the videos to align their evaluative ratings with fellow administrators;
  • and school leaders felt that they could provide more concrete feedback to teachers.

Additional Resources:

Monday, February 2, 2015

Supporting Students with Disabilities in Transitioning to Postsecondary Education



Looking for resources to support your special education population post-graduation?  Check out this webinar next month discussing transitioning students with disabilities from high school to postsecondary education.

High School to College Transition Workshop
“Tips for Students with Disabilities Transitioning to Postsecondary Education”.


This webinar is designed to help those working with students with disabilities in high school to help them successfully transition to college. Tips will include information for how to evaluate a college’s disability support services, what questions to ask before deciding where to go to school, what documentation colleges are looking for and how to navigate the collegiate environment (academic, housing and social opportunities) once a student is enrolled.


This webinar is given by three experts in the field:
Eileen Bellemore, Stonehill College
Lisa Bibeau, Salem State College
Susan Woods, Middlesex Community College

When: Thursday, March 25th from 2:00-3:00
Where: Online-link to webinar will be e-mailed to registrants prior to the event
Cost: $30 per person


 Click Here to Register for this Event