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Reviewing Annual School and District Data

By: Jessie Kember, Ph.D.

End of the year school-wide data can provide educators with insights regarding trends, allowing for reflection while also informing future decisions that benefit the outcomes of all students. Within a problem-solving framework, the final step, plan evaluation, includes both analyzing data and also reflecting on these data. In addition, it may also be beneficial to analyze annual school-wide data alongside annual district data for comparison purposes. The multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) framework encourages educators to collect, analyze, and reflect on a variety of data sources to understand student learning. These sources can include a combination of both summative and formative data from annual state assessments, attendance, demographics, behavior, as well as data collected using the FastBridge® system, including screening assessments administered school-wide, classroom performance data, and individual student data. While reflecting on school data, it is important to review current practices and outcomes, identify relationships and patterns, create hypotheses for the observed student learning outcomes, and also identify areas in which changes can be made. At the school level, action steps and strategies identified through data analysis and reflection may further serve as a part of a school improvement plan.

Outcomes from System Data Review

There are a handful of purposes for reviewing annual school and district data:

  1. To inform and assess core curriculum and instruction
  2. To inform whether intervention (outside of core instruction) is needed for a student
  3. To inform summer or fall intervention group placement (i.e., placing the student in a group with similar-performing students based on a specific skill).
  4. If appropriate, to allow students to examine their own growth and learning and set their own learning goals
  5. To identify professional development and training strengths and needs at the grade, school, or district level.
  6. To examine school and district-wide trends in data
  7. To determine appropriate resource allocation
  8. To set goals for future student performance

Data Reviewers

At the school level, it may be beneficial to review annual school data with intervention team members, grade level/subject-area team members, assessment team members, administration, a school-based leadership team, or instructional coaches/content specialists. Student, school, and district-wide decisions are best made when they are a product of collaboration. It will be important to acknowledge those school-wide data practices implemented by the educators in your building.

Reports to Review

The best FastBridge® reports for reviewing all students’ performance over time are the school and district-level versions of the:

  • Impact Report
  • Group Growth Report
  • Group Screening Report

The above reports provide information about how many students met their learning goals and how many did not. Such information is important for planning what types of instruction will be needed in the following year and how many teachers should be allocated for different levels of instruction. In terms of planning for individual student needs, the following are helpful:

  • Individual Skills Report
  • Group Skills Report

The above reports provide information about the specific skills that students have mastered or yet need to learn.

FastBridge® also provides users with the option to download and archive annual school data, over time and across school years. This is made possible through the Data Download feature. District Managers and School Managers may access either screening or progress monitoring data through the Data Download Report. This report is customizable and provides various options for exporting data of interest. For example, the School or District Manager can select the following:

  • The assessment of interest
  • The school year of interest (prior or current)
  • The data of interest (screening or progress monitoring)

Follow these simple steps to access the Data Download Report:

  1. Select “Reporting”
  2. Select “Student Data Download”
  3. Select the school
  4. Select the academic year
  5. Select the assessment
  6. Select the assessment group (i.e., screening or progress monitoring)
  7. Provide your email address
  8. Select “Submit”
  9. Retrieve the report from the “Requested Reports” section. The report will be provided in a .csv format.   

Depending on your selected characteristics, the .csv data file provides a detailed account of student information and data, including but not limited to student information (i.e., name, Identification number, gender, date of birth, race, special education status, grade level, etc.) as well as student assessment screening scores (i.e., fall, winter, and spring scores), percentiles (school, local education agency [district], and nation), growth percentiles (fall to winter, winter to spring, fall to spring), and risk levels in a file format in which each student represents a single row in the document. This format allows for easy access to school, district, and national comparison. Such data can also be integrated with other student information or added to a data “warehouse” for easy access.

Questions to Ask

  1. What percentage of students are meeting benchmark in my classroom? In the school? In the district?
  2. What are the noticeable trends and patterns across the data? Are there exceptions to these trends and patterns (i.e., outliers)?
  3. How can we compare performance of different groups of students? (i.e., comparing the performance of those students that receive special education services and those that do not)
  4. What are potential hypotheses for these observed trends and patterns in the data?
  5. What additional information is needed?

Ongoing Data Use is Key

Although the end of the school year offers an opportune time to analyze, review, and reflect on school-wide and district-wide data, it is important for data teams to establish ongoing data use throughout the school year. With ongoing data use, the team can make data informed decisions to improve student learning outcomes. And, by setting goals for the next year, teams can be ready to go as soon as the new school year begins.

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