Florida Educational Consortia Select Instructional Improvement System

One of Florida’s Race to the Top initiatives is that all districts will implement a local instructional improvement system (LIIS) to provide teachers and administrators with the information and resources they need to improve their instructional practices, decision-making, and overall effectiveness. To systematically manage instructional improvement, regional educational consortia across the state are turning to Performance Matters™, a web-based solution that provides an integrated platform for student assessment, data management and teacher effectiveness.

The Panhandle Area Educational Consortium (PAEC) and the Heartland Educational Consortium (HEC) are the most recent consortia to make the Performance Matters assessment and data management system and the FASTe (Formative Action System for Teacher Effectiveness) platform available to their member districts.

To date, all six HEC districts and 11 of 13 PAEC member districts, as well as two PAEC participating districts, have purchased the Performance Matters assessment and data management system. The web-based system, which is currently in use in 47 percent of Florida school districts, provides an integrated solution for data-driven decision making, from the individual student level to the district level. Using interactive dashboards and color-coded reports, educators can monitor student performance and growth in real time, evaluate instructional impact, and analyze policies and programs.

The districts also purchased FASTe, a turnkey system for evaluating educator effectiveness, with a framework that can be customized for each school district. Accessible year-round, the FASTe online platform enables educators to “progress monitor” their performance against the multiple measures that make up their annual evaluations and link to relevant, timely professional development resources. At the end of the year, educators can then produce summative rating reports, based on the school system’s criteria.

Heartland Educational Consortium

In HEC in central rural Florida, the DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, and Okeechobee county school districts began using the Performance Matters assessment and data management system during the 2011-12 school year, and plan to launch FASTe in 2012-13.

"What sold our districts is that the interface is very teacher-friendly. It allows teachers to easily drill down and look at data from our state assessments and from the formative assessments developed individually in each district and collectively within HEC, so they can adjust their instruction throughout the year," said Tom Conner, executive director of HEC. "Overall, it’s made the use of data in our districts much more streamlined and effective. And, the feedback I’ve received is that it’s one of most user-friendly software applications we’ve ever had, which is a nice change from other systems we’ve used in the past.”

Panhandle Area Educational Consortium

Since its creation in 1967, PAEC — Florida’s oldest regional educational consortium — has been a leader in multi-district initiatives incorporating leading-edge technology, such as the FloridaLearns Academy professional development center and the Florida Education Channel. After reviewing several LIISs, PAEC selected Performance Matters as a preferred provider for its member districts. To date, member districts including Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington county school districts, as well as participating districts including Florida State University (FSU) Schools and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Developmental Research School, have purchased the Performance Matters assessment and data management system and FASTe. They plan to fully launch the systems at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year.

“Of the different systems our districts reviewed, Performance Matters was the one solution that met their needs and at a cost they could afford,” said Sharon Mitchell, administrator of instructional services for PAEC. “The data analytics functionality is very important to our districts, and Performance Matters makes it easy to access and view data in several different ways, from the teacher level to the principal level to the district level.”