While "data-driven decision-making" has been part of the conversation in K-12 education in recent years, many schools and districts are struggling with how to use that data to actually improve student achievement. At the 2009 National School Boards Association (NSBA) technology and learning conference (T+L Conference) in Denver this month, school leaders will have the chance to learn more about an innovative process that prepares educators to use data to improve teaching and learning for children.
Facilitators from TERC, an educational research and development organization, will present the preconference workshop, "The Right Data at the Right Time: How to Identify Which Data Really Help Schools Improve Student Achievement," from 9 a.m.-noon on Oct. 27. Workshop presenters Jake Schlumpf and Diana Nunnaley will share insights from a decade of working with learning communities that have adopted the "Using Data" process.
Developed by TERC, with a grant from the National Science Foundation and evaluated by independent researchers, Using Data has documented gains in student achievement in mathematics, science and other content areas and has been successful in narrowing achievement gaps between economic and racial groups, as well as increasing collaboration, data use and instructional improvement. The Using Data process shows teachers how to use data to inform their day-to-day practice.
Dennis Yarmouth Regional School District in Cape Cod, Mass., is an example of a district that has made systemic changes with Using Data. This district, with 3,500 students in seven schools, serves a community that is somewhat transient with a wide variety of income levels - nearly 50 percent of all students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Like many other school districts, Dennis Yarmouth Regional is also grappling with educating a growing population of English Language Learners (ELL).
A case study on Dennis Yarmouth Regional School District's experience with the Using Data process is available on the TERC Web site.