Using data to assess student learning, identify learning difficulties, and develop effective instructional strategies is a proven way of increasing student achievement. Working collaboratively in data teams enables teachers to make the most of student data and unleashes their creativity and resourcefulness.
The six-page (tri-fold) laminated guide, The Skillful Inquiry / Data Team, by Nancy Love, is a concise yet comprehensive tool for teachers and other educators working in data teams (alternatively referred to as inquiry teams and/or professional learning communities, or PLCs). It presents a simple framework for building and launching data teams, including setting goals, establishing processes/procedures, deciding how to monitor and assess team performance, and answering the four essential questions:
• What do we expect students to know and be able to do (drawing on common core standards, curriculum documents, etc.)?
• How will we know if they have learned (decide on common benchmark assessments)?
• What interventions will we use if they do not learn (e.g., flexible groupings, tutoring, re-teaching)?
• What do we do if they already know (e.g., design challenging extensions of lessons)?
The guide illustrates the process of engaging in short cycles of improvement, outlines the four phases of data-driven dialogue and the process of data-driven decision making. A “What, When, Why, How, and What Next” chart breaks the entire process down into straightforward steps.
The Skillful Inquiry / Data Team guide is also a useful resource for RTI (Response To Intervention) teams, who can follow the process in order to identify students in need of Tier 2 (targeted) or Tier 3 (intensive) interventions, decide upon interventions, and monitor student progress.