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This school year, more than previous years, the focus is on learning recovery. And, as we said before in a previous article, teachers need a data analysis protocol that helps them do more than just identify what students learned and did not learn. They need a data analysis protocol that helps them do more than just identify what to teach and reteach. They need a data analysis protocol that provides the time and space for them to analyze what is working—and what is not working—when it comes to their plan for learning loss recovery. They need support in honing their craft to the benefit of the students and in ensuring targeted instruction with effective techniques.
They need a reflective data analysis protocol.
And, it is your job, as principal, to ensure that they not only have it, but they also understand its value and how to fully utilize it.
It is our job to ensure you have the tools you need to do this.
That’s why in this article we are going provide you with tools to implement a reflective data analysis protocol and an example of how Elevated Achievement supports teachers in fully utilizing it.
The Reflective Data Analysis Protocol
The efficacy of a reflective data analysis protocol is that it guides teachers to intentionally reflect on those practices that were used to teach the skills that were assessed. If the data shows that students learned—what practices led to that learning? If the data shows that students did not learn—what practices led to that lack of learning?
A reflective data analysis protocol includes the following steps:
- What were the students demonstrating?
- What were the students’ successes and challenges?
- How did the format impact student demonstration of learning?
- How did previous support in lesson design and delivery impact student demonstration of learning?
- Regarding successes, how can supports in lesson design and delivery be replicated to ensure continued student learning?
- Regarding challenges, how can gaps in lesson design and delivery be filled to ensure student learning?
It is imperative that teachers not only understand these steps, but also recognize the value of implementing a reflective data analysis protocol. Supporting this recognition is a principal’s main responsibility. There are a myriad of ways to do this and each principal will have their own style, but there are two main things a principal must do to ensure their teachers recognize the value of a reflective data analysis protocol:
- Set the context for using a reflective data analysis protocol.
- Provide ample time for reflecting on “Why It Happened.”
Here is an example of how Elevated Achievement has done this.
Set the Context
When setting the context, a principal must be prepared to explain the “what,” the “why,” and the “how.” This is very similar to what our students need in the classroom. Our students have greater success in every lesson when they know what they are learning, why they are learning it, and how they will learn it. Teachers will have greater success in utilizing a reflective data analysis protocol when they know what they will be doing with it, why this is important, and how it will impact future instruction.
When Elevated Achievement meets with teachers, before we even began looking at the data, it is imperative that we explain the “what,” “why,” and “how” for the session. Here is an example of how we set the context with a data team who was utilizing a reflective data analysis protocol for the first time. We stated and discussed with the teachers the following information.
Our What — Teachers will…
- Analyze student learning results using a reflective data analysis protocol.
- Have multiple opportunities to reflect upon the supports offered to students during past lessons and the impact their decisions may have made on student learning.
- Develop a plan for continued learning based on the data-based conclusions they made during their reflections.
Our Why — In order to further support our students to be college and career ready, it is imperative that we as educators analyze the successes and the challenges of the supports our students are receiving on a daily basis.
Our How — Teachers will follow the steps of the reflective data analysis protocol to identify what happened, reflect on why it happened, and identify what happens next based on our data-based conclusions.
Provide Time for Reflection
Most data protocols do ask teachers to look at student data. Most data protocols do ask teachers to develop next steps for student achievement. But remember, the most effective data protocols have an interim step that give teachers the time to analyze why the data is the data. That’s why the key to successful implementation of a reflective data analysis protocol is allowing ample time for the second step, Reflect: Why It Happened.
This time of reflection cannot be rushed. Teachers need ample time to think about and discuss with their peers the “why” behind the students’ successes and challenges because these conclusions will then help guide the decisions for what happens next. They will ensure that intentional, targeted, and focused data-driven learning plans are created for the students.
Here is an example of what this looked like with the same data team mentioned above after we had set the context.
Step 1: Identify What Happened — Teachers were first tasked with analyzing the results from the data to identify what the students were demonstrating and what were their successes and challenges. They were asked to write the successes and challenges on two different colored sticky notes which they used in discussions during the next step.
Step 2: Reflect on Why It Happened — Teachers shared out to the group their findings and placed their sticky notes on the corresponding poster for “successes” and “challenges.” They were given time to review the posters to look for any patterns or trends in the successes and/or challenges. We then gathered back together for a group discussion about what they noticed.
After this discussion, we began reflecting on why the successes were successes and why the challenges were challenges. The teachers were tasked with going back to their original post-its to use in reflecting on the decisions they made in their own classrooms and what kind of impact those decisions had on the students learning. There were asked to ponder:
- I wonder why we got the results we did . . .
- I wonder if . . . then . . .
- I wonder what would happen if I . . .
Teachers shared their reflections with their peers and new patterns between decisions and results were identified that would help support the planning of what happens next in the process.
Step 3: Identify What Happens Next — Teachers used the following questions to help in their planning process: What successes can we replicate and improve upon? and What can be revised to improve student learning based on challenges presented in this data team meeting? And, they were able to work in collaborative pairs based on similar patterns identified in Step 2.
As you can see from this example, Step 2 in the reflective data analysis protocol dominates the time used for the protocol. But, remember and tell your teachers when you’re setting the context that it is this reflection that makes a reflective data analysis protocol valuable to them as teachers and effective for their students. That’s why it is a reflective data analysis.
The Learning Brief
In this article you learned…
- Teachers need a reflective data analysis protocol, and it is a principal’s job, to ensure that they not only have it, but they also understand its value and how to fully utilize it.
- There are two main things a principal must do to ensure their teachers recognize the value of a reflective data analysis protocol: set the context and provide ample time for reflection.
- What setting the context and providing ample time looks like with teachers using a reflective data analysis protocol for the first time.
Can you imagine building an environment full of motivated, engaged, and eager students who own their learning?