The most effective way to improve student outcomes is to boost teacher performance. In order to improve instruction, school leaders need to develop a clear, concise understanding of what is working in the classroom and what is not. That’s where data comes in.
Data-driven coaching processes are the most efficient way to accurately track and measure growth. Bringing data into the picture leads teachers away from assumptions about their students and teaching strategies. Effective use of data can spark curiosity in teachers and motivate them to investigate their pedagogical practices.
Using Data To Get The Whole Picture
As noted in a University of Southern California study on student achievement, “Data can shed light on existing areas of strength and weakness and also guide improvement strategies in a systematic and strategic manner.” With this insight, schools across the country have been focusing, rightly so, on students assessment results as the key determinant of instructional effectiveness. Here, in a similar fashion, we look specifically to data gathered from interactions with teacher and coaches to “guide improvement strategies.” By measuring qualitative and quantitative data from these interactions, school leaders can identify trends and deliver a robust picture of teacher growth.
Qualitative data can be gleaned through practices like classroom observation, debrief meetings, and open-ended questionnaires. Qualitative data collection should be guided by a rubric or framework for effective teaching so that feedback is aligned. Video capture is also an effective method of qualitative data collection that can be easily shared with teachers. From these sources, instructional leaders can begin to identify trends across classrooms in schools and even whole districts.
Quantitative data involves the collection of numerical data points which can be sorted into categories, ranked in order, or measured in units. Typically, this is gathered through informal and formal observations using a rubric. Observers rate performance in specific competencies that fall within specific domains of practice. Just as with student acheivement data, the data from formative assessments of teacher performance has enormous potential to inform professional development offerings and support.
In order to make data-driven decisions, school leaders, teachers, and coaches should use appropriate tracking software that has the capacity to synthesize and analyze data. Tracking software should also be designed to securely and effectively share data as needed.
What Data Can Do to Improve Teacher Performance
A data-driven analysis can inform decision-making throughout the coaching process. Data can be used to pinpoint exactly which teachers need help, and which skills specifically need improvement.
When these needs are accurately identified, school leaders can then provide targeted professional development to address growth in those areas. Data can be used to outline specific, measurable goals with concrete corresponding action steps to meet these needs.
Data can also help facilitate a schoolwide cultural shift to a growth mindset. To create an effective coaching program that helps teachers get better faster, school leaders must build an environment that embraces a culture of ever-evolving progress.
According to Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, author of Get Better Faster: A 90-Day Plan For Coaching New Teachers, frequent feedback is key to closing instructional gaps. Providing data-driven feedback on a regular basis will help normalize feedback on the whole and integrate it into your school’s everyday routine. Teachers will be more likely to embrace feedback when it is framed as a tool of growth.
Manage Your Data Effectively
Software is the best way to manage and make meaning of data. Effective programs will enable you to track, analyze, and share data in a straightforward, organized fashion. From rubric creators to advanced reporting features, Whetstone’s streamlined software makes using data to improve teacher performance a breeze. The data is already there. Put it to use with a free demo today.