Florida districts rely on assessment, data management and teacher effectiveness solution

The Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) 2.0, and the Student Success Act have pushed Florida ahead of the curve in the nation’s drive to improve the quality of education and the college and career readiness of students. But can school districts gather, analyze and act on the data these initiatives require using their existing systems which may be outdated and disjointed?

One system that is making the transition easier for a growing number of Florida districts is Performance Matters™, a web-based solution that provides an integrated platform for student assessment, data management and teacher effectiveness.

To date, 43 percent of Florida districts have implemented the Performance Matters assessment and data management system — with 14 of these 29 districts adding the system in 2011. Among the most recent to purchase Performance Matters are Hernando County School District, Clay County School District, and the majority of school districts located in the Panhandle area of Florida.

Operating on a single, web-based platform, Performance Matters helps provides integrated solutions for data-driven decision making from the individual student level to the district level. Using interactive dashboards and color-coded reports, educators can slice and dice data to monitor student performance and growth in real time, evaluate instructional impact, and analyze policies and programs. With timely, actionable data, districts can differentiate instruction and professional development, identify and share best practices, and invest their resources where they have been proven to have the greatest impact.

In 2010, Marion County Public Schools was one of several Florida districts that decided to make the switch to the Performance Matters assessment and data management system.

“We’ve been a data-driven district for a long time, but we were using a system that was difficult to manage,” said Dr. Diana Greene, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Marion County Public Schools. “We felt it was time to search for a system that would be user-friendly and give our end users the information they needed to make decisions. Ease of use — particularly for our school-based administrators and teachers — was our number one priority.”

To address these needs, Marion County Public Schools purchased Performance Matters in May 2010 and implemented it in every school,across all grade levels. In 2011, to meet Florida’s new requirements for teacher evaluations, it added FASTe, the Formative Action System for Teacher Effectiveness.

“With Performance Matters, we now have a system that’s easy to use,” said Greene. “It’s very user-friendly, so it’s easy to get whatever information you need.”