The fourth principle in Failure is Not an Option, by Alan Blankstein, is "using data to guide decision making and continuous improvement." What kind of data should a school collect? How should that data be used and who should be involved in making decisions with that data?
Most charter school governing boards in Colorado have an accountability committee that operates as a subcommittee of the board. This committee typically administers the annual parent survey, creates the Accreditation plan for board review prior to submission to the authorizer, and analyzes achievement data. But how does the staff use data to make meaningful decisions in the classroom?
Typically there is one school leader who is the "data guru" for the school. This individual analyzes the data, talks to teachers about what the data means for classroom instruction, determines what data is collected, and ensures everyone who is impacted by data use understands the school's value for continuous improvement.
People at all levels should use school achievement data. A parent uses CSAP data to determine how well his child does each year. A classroom teacher can use classroom data to determine if all of the standards are understood by the students or if additional time should be given to particular standards. Administrators use data to decide if the curriculum is properly aligned to state model content standards and if teachers are effectively instructing students using CSAP terms or techniques.
Data collection at the school level isn't meant to be an isolated, discreet body of evidence. It's meant to drive discussion amongst the teaching staff, especially when the discussions are focused on improvement from lessons learned from the data.
School leaders now have a new tool to use for evaluating data: the Colorado growth model. For years, people complained about not being able to compare apples to apples, or there was no way to fairly compare schools in affluent areas with schools in high-poverty areas of the state. The growth model now allows for students to be compared to other students that perform relatively similar. This is an objective reflection of how well the school has done to educate the students they serve, regardless of their socioeconomic background.