Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Using data for accountability and improved instruction

Two interesting articles popped up in today's ACSD SmartBrief (click here to sign up):

The common thread: using specific data to track individual student performance over time can improve the academic performance of all students -- but that kind of analysis requires an investment in both time and money.

This approach to using student performance data (on things like standardized tests and internal assessments) doesn't come easy, and schools have made mistakes along the way. For example, teachers objected to one district's assessment plan because it tested students in February or March, but didn't share the student data with teachers until the following September -- when the students had moved on to the next grade. So much for timeliness.

But a carefully planned and executed data analysis program can work wonders for schools and their students, according to an article in the latest issue of Education Next (a publication of Stanford University's Hoover Institution). It looks at the efforts of three schools that have dived head first into the "brave new world of data-informed instruction" and seen positive results in terms of teaching and student performance.


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