We’ve all been in school a few weeks now. We know more about our new students than we did a few weeks ago. And somewhere in the mix, we’ve seen some data about our school’s student achievement gains or losses.   Or we’ve heard someone deliver a description of where our data stands. Do you have a “data dashboard” in front of you? Is the hope that having access to a continuous stream of data going to improve learning in your classes?

Keep in mind “data have no meaning”. It’s only when we and our colleagues regularly, routinely sit together to look at the data to “create meaning and joint understanding” that WE can collectively create and connect the changes needed to seriously make a difference for our students . Who’s on your team? Do you have a structured process to help you mine your data?

Try using 4-Phase Dialogue the next time you and your grade level content  team meet to analyze data.  Before the data results or samples of student work are put on the table, make predictions about what you think the results will show. Capture this in writing on chart paper. Then pass out the data and figure out how you would like to graphically represent this data on a large piece of chart paper. Create it! Post it! Now make observations – just the facts. What do you see in the data? Record everyone’s comments. Last, Phase 4, what are the tentative conclusions you have about why you’re seeing these results? After recording your inferences, take the last few minutes of your planning period to talk about implications of what you’ve recorded? Who needs to know this? What additional data do we need to see next? This slide will help you through the steps.