Applying these six steps enables school teams to use data to target re-teaching, implement enrichments and interventions where needed, and plan for instructional improvement in the next unit.
STEP 1: IDENTIFY THE RELEVANT ASSESSMENTS AND DEFINE THE TERMS USED IN THE ASSESSMENT DATA REPORTS.
Step 1 of the Classroom-Focused Improvement Process builds the assessment literacy of the team by focusing team members on the assessment data to be analyzed and by making sure that team members understand the nature and characteristics of these assessments.
This step is an important part of the work of the data team and one that should not be taken lightly. Each source of data serves a different purpose, and data reports vary significantly in how they portray their data. Before jumping into the analysis, it is essential to take time as a team to understand the nature of the assessment being discussed, who participated in it and who did not, and the terminology and statistics used in the report. This step is particularly important if data reports originate outside the school, such as from the state or from the district's information management system or data warehouse.
Besides the purpose of building assessment expertise on the part of participants, this step is also intended to ensure that there is a commonly-shared understanding of assessment terms and concepts among team members, as opposed to individual understandings, which may vary widely or be incorrect.
The data team can develop its members' assessment literacy by considering questions such as these:
- What assessments will be analyzed in this session?
- Who participated in the assessments? Who did not? Why?
- Why were the assessments given? When?
- What do the terms (such as percentiles, percent correct, and proficiency) in the data reports mean?
- Do these assessments have any special characteristics that should be understood prior to analyzing the data?
While it may seem that these questions are simplistic and obvious, it is important for the team to have complete answers to them before proceeding to the subsequent steps of the CFIP model. A handy reference for this step in the process is the annotated Assessment Literacy Glossary.