Online College Courses for Credit

2 Tutorials that teach Using Data to Guide Improvement
Take your pick:
Using Data to Guide Improvement

Using Data to Guide Improvement

Author: Ashley Sweatt

In this lesson, students examine the connection between student data and teacher evaluation.

See More

Like what you're learning?

Teacher Evaluation and Assessment

Take the whole course from Capella University FOR FREE


Source: Image of boy writing, Public Domain,

Video Transcription

Download PDF

Hi. My name is Ashley, and this lesson is titled Using Data to Guide Improvement. In today's lesson, we'll focus on how data is related to teacher evaluation. We'll look at how data is collected and how student data should be examined. Lastly, in this lesson, we'll go through the steps when establishing an improvement plan. Let's go ahead and begin.

How is data related to teacher evaluation? Data is very important to many evaluation models. In most cases, student growth is tied into the final score of the teacher's effectiveness rating. Because of this, teachers constantly review data to ensure students are making progress. Data from formative and summative assessments, as well as standardized assessments, are reviewed.

Learning goals are established and monitored closely during the evaluation process. The goals are then used to analyze teacher effectiveness and for setting other goals for improvement. This process can occur in a variety of situations. It can occur with the teacher only or the teacher and the instructional coach, the teacher and the collaborative team, or the teacher and the evaluator.

How is data collected? Many teacher evaluation models use student data during the process. Like we mentioned earlier, most often, student data is used when assessing the teacher's final effectiveness rating. As teachers, our main goal is student achievement. So student data would be a significant area of focus.

Many types of tools to collect data can be used. Your evaluation model may even specify a specific tool to use. Let's take a look at a list of examples that you can use while collecting data. Student surveys can be used. Standardized assessments and state assessments, formative and summative assessments, common assessments, student portfolios, as well as performance tasks may be used as a way of collecting data. With some evaluation models, the data collected may result in an evaluation score. Before the evaluation process begins, set a baseline to get an idea of every student's prior knowledge and pinpoint an area of focus.

How should student data be examined? First, a baseline must be provided to assess the student's entry level of skill upon entering the grade for that school year. As a result of the baseline, you will find certain skills that need to be monitored for student growth. Set learning targets for students and establish how frequent you will review the data of your students.

Let's say you give a baseline writing prompt. You have 25% of your students who are proficient, 50% of students who were below proficient, and 25% of students who are way below proficient. Your goal is that by the end of the year, each student would have increased at least one proficiency level. Therefore, you will frequently review student data.

Establish a timeline so that you may routinely check on students' progress and review their data. Identify when targets are not being met and when expectations are exceeded. After reviewing your data, set up interventions or enrichment opportunities for students when needed.

Ask yourself and your students, how is my instruction helping my students reach their targets? What about my instruction is interfering with their learning? How can I adapt my instruction to meet the needs of all of my students? Use the answers to these questions to decide where you need to make improvements.

So once the questions are answered, the ones that we just mentioned, then it is time for you to complete a plan, do, study act cycle, which can be used to establish a plan for improvement. This is also called a PDSA. Plan-- what is my goal? This is where the data has been reviewed and a plan of action is established.

Do-- what actions need to be taken, and for what length of time? Decide what needs to be done to begin meeting learning targets and for how long it would be done. Use the domains from the chosen teacher evaluation model and feedback from evaluators to help assist in this area.

Study-- how will I assess students' progress and when? Decide on what methods will be used to examine students' progress and how often you will do it. You may assess the use of summative and formative assessments, student portfolios, or other data collection tools that we mentioned earlier in this tutorial.

Act-- make adjustments of goals are not being met. If you find targets are not being met, make changes to assist your students. So if we use our example, as we said before, that you give a baseline writing assessment at the beginning of the year, so based off of that data, you have decided on what your plan will be, your plan of focus. Now, what actions need to be made?

Here's where we get to the do section of the PDSA cycle. What things need to be considered when trying to get students to that next proficiency level? Maybe it's giving students more time to work on their mechanics or editing writing or going through the process of creating paragraphs and what to write about.

Now we're at the study section of the PDSA plan. Study the information that's been given. Give other assessments to monitor students' progress. You may decide to give an assessment every other week to see if students are applying what they have been learning to their writing.

And in the act section, here's where you will decide if you need to go back and continue to plan other activities. Or if the students have made progress, then you can give supplemental activity so keep honing in on those skills that they have learned.

Let's recap what we have discussed in today's lesson. First, we considered how data is related to teacher evaluation. In many cases, data is used in the evaluation process in order to identify teacher effectiveness. Data is also used when establishing learning goals on which the teacher will be evaluated on. Data is collected through many types of tools, such as student surveys, formative and summative assessments, and performance tasks. We also reviewed the steps of establishing an improvement plan using a PDSA cycle.

Think about data that you have collected on your students. How can you use the PDSA cycle to set a plan for improvement? Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The Additional Resources section will be super helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description so you can easily target the resources you want.

Notes on "Using Data to Guide Improvement"


(00:00 - 00:11) Introduction

(00:12 - 00:32) What Will You Learn Today?

(00:33 - 01:24) How is Data Related to Teacher Evaluation?

(01:25 - 02:35) How is Data Collected?

(02:36 - 04:07) How Should Student Data be Examined?

(04:08 - 06:29) What are the Steps in Establishing an Improvement Plan?

(06:30 - 07:04) What Did You Learn Today?

(07:05 - 07:32) Reflection

Additional Resources

Using Data to Guide Instruction and Improve Student Learning

This article examines best practices in reviewing student data to guide and improve student learning. In addition, the article includes some practices in use by states in the Southern region of the US.

Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making

This guide includes tables, exemplars, and best practices for using student data individually and as a learning community to improve student achievement and instructional practices.