Empowering teachers by developing a systemic approach to analyze and utilize data to guide instructional decisions

Jackie Nielsen and Carol Oltman

Many teachers, especially at the secondary level, are overwhelmed with data and are unsure how to evaluate, identify, and analyze the critical information. As Dr. Victoria Bernhardt (2013) notes in Data Analysis for Continuous School Improvement, “It seems many schools do not have ‘working structures’ in place to systematically and honestly review and then to use all their data to impact student learning results” (p. 2).  In order to address the concern, we will build a system to help teachers analyze and utilize data to make instructional decisions.  We will guide teachers to ask the right questions to improve student achievement.  Bernhardt (2013) further notes, “Without a system structure, or vision in place to guide the use of all data, there is no new learning to change teacher attitudes, behaviors, or instruction - and ultimately improve student learning” (p. 2).

We adapted a system, incorporating the works of Dr. Victoria Bernhardt (2013) and Daniel Venables (2014), which includes four major components: Gather and Review Data, Identify Gaps and Set Goals, Planning for Action, Implementing and Evaluating Action Plan. These stages assist teachers in evaluating macro- and microdata to identify learning and instructional gaps. This information will be utilized to develop an improvement plan to improve instructional strategies to enhance student achievement.

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