Data Driven Instructional Decisions - Inviting Teachers into the Discussion

According to Paul Bambrick-Santoya, author of Leverage Leadership, data analysis meetings between leaders and teachers are the highest-leverage time a leader can spend.  During which time it is critical that teachers analyze their own assessment data. But even for school leaders who have learned to analyze data closely, supporting teachers to do the same can be challenging.

So, what needs to happen before a leader can ask the sort of targeted questions that lead to data-driven instructional decisions?

Know your teachers.  The type of support and questions will depend on the self-reflection and analysis capacity of the teachers.

Analyze the teacher’s results before the meeting to ensure you have a good idea of the root cause and how teachers might address the problems.

If needed, get help with content expertise.

Informed by your own analysis of the student data, arrive to the meeting with a few specific strategies that will be effective. Keep those in your “back pocket” and lead by asking questions like…

 -  What did the students need to be able to do to get that question right?  How was this more that what they are able to do with you in class?

 -  What’s so interesting is that they did really well on question number ____ but struggled with question number ___ on the same standard.  Why do you think that is?

 -  Let’s look at question number ____.  What do you think that the students are doing wrong here?

After analysis meetings like these, teachers have a more developed capacity to analyze their students’ output and a clearer understanding of what steps to take to improve student learning.