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 6: USE THE REFLECTION GUIDE TO HELP IDENTIFY AND THEN IMPLEMENT ONE OR TWO IMPROVEMENTS IN FUTURE INSTRUCTION. PLAN FOR THE NEXT DATA ANALYSIS SESSION.
The final step (Step 6) of the Classroom-Focused Improvement Process is, in many respects, the most important step of the protocol, for unless team members modify their instructional practice in response to the results of their data analysis, future student learning will not improve.
CFIP is designed to foster reflective practice in teaching. The following two quotations eloquently explain the essence of the type of reflective practice that CFIP aims to promote.
According to Costa and Kallick, "Reflection has many facets. For example, reflecting on work enhances its meaning. Reflecting on experiences encourages insights and complex learning. We foster our own growth when we control our own learning, so reflection is best done alone. Reflection is also enhanced, however, when we ponder our learning with others."35
They continue, "Reflection involves linking a current experience to previous learnings (called scaffolding). Reflection also involves drawing forth cognitive and emotional information from several sources: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile. To reflect, we must act upon and process the information, synthesizing and evaluating the data. In the end, reflecting also means applying what we've learned to contexts beyond the original situations in which we have learned something." 36
Somers, et al., outline the following requirements for reflective practice:
- A deliberate pause, a purposeful slowing down to find time for a close look;
- A willingness to be open to others' points of view;
- Consciously processing your thoughts;
- Examining beliefs, goals, and practices;
- Gaining new insights and understandings. 37
To help team members reflect on the implications of the data analysis for their own teaching practice and to make appropriate changes, team members should focus again on the Reflection Guide that contains the key components of the instructional process:
- Planning instruction
- Initiating instruction
- Conducting instruction
- Summarizing and assessing instruction
The Reflection Guide is not designed to be a checklist of characteristics that must be included in all lessons. Rather, the Reflection Guide should be used at this step as a help in identifying the one or two changes that could be made in upcoming instruction that would have the most powerful impact on increasing student learning. The list is not exhaustive; additional items should be added.
If the instructional changes have the desired effect on student learning, they should be continued. If they do not, they should be discontinued.
Finally, at this step, team members should plan for the ongoing nature of the data analysis process by deciding when the data will be reviewed again to determine the success of the enrichments, interventions, and instructional changes and to track student progress on future assessments. It is also appropriate at this time to raise questions that the data did not answer and to discuss how these questions will be pursued by team members.
Questions similar to the following might be used at this final step:
- Based on reflection on our past instruction and the current levels of student performance, as shown by the data, how will we improve future instruction to increase the learning of all students?
- When will we review the data again to determine the success of the enrichments, interventions, and instructional changes?
- What do the data not tell us? What questions remain about student achievement that we need to answer? How will we attempt to answer these questions?
- 35 Costa, A. & Kallick B. (2000). Assessing and reporting on habits of the mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, p. 15.
- 36 Ibid.
- 37 York-Barr, J., et al. (2006). Reflective practice to improve schools: An action guide for educators. 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, pp. 6-8.