Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formattingExcerpt from dissertation:
Human relations are vital. Teachers must trust each other, there must be norms that support productive criticism, and there must be techniques in place for combining and resolving disputes. Arrangements need to be in place that generates discussion for problem identification and decision making. These arrangements could be things such as normal team meetings amid teachers at the same grade level or department meetings within high schools and middle schools. Frequently useful are school connections to inside and outside sources of knowledge and scrutiny coupled to a readiness to learn from such sources. Also, schools must work to secure the power to proceed with actions that might go against existing policies and practices. By doing this they master the micro-politics of their districts and their communities.
In schools where circumstances to maintain collaborative problem solving are not in place, leaders must expertly manage two plans at the same time. They must establish the helpful conditions while taking on the problem solving process. They must construct the bus while maneuvering it. The essential of raising student performance does not permit pauses. If schools are to meet the test of incessant improvement, the commitment with both the procedure and the circumstances that support it are essential (Knezek, 2001).
Common values, dispositions and beliefs, primarily concerning promises to high goals for all students and making sure the well-being of all, along with social resources such as interpersonal belief and caring associations amongst educators and amid educators and students make probable collaborative improvement procedures. But, the significance of these circumstances goes beyond problem solving. They encourage learning and the engagement of staff and students as well as a sense that one is safe physically, socially and psychologically. When schools are places in which one feels concerned for, they are likely to be places that people care about (O'Donnell, 2002).
Collecting, analyzing and using data to identify school needs
Comprehending what the data tells a person about where their school is performing in relation to school and district objectives is the first step in data analysis. Looking to figure out why the data looks like it does is the next part (Edwards, 2006). Principals need to model for and train staff to frequently collect, analyze and utilize data to inform instruction. Principals need to ask for the contribution of the major players such as teachers, administrators, parents, and students in order to make sure that all insights and outlooks are embodied in the process (Marzano, 2003).
Data from a variety of sources can serve a number of significant staff development reasons. First, data on student learning gathered from standardized tests, district-made tests, student work samples, portfolios, and other sources present important contribution to the selection of school or district improvement objectives and provide focus for staff development efforts. This course of data analysis and objective advance characteristically concludes the content of teachers' professional learning in the areas of teaching, curriculum, and evaluation (Adkins, 1990).
Useful data are characteristically drawn from other sources, comprising norm-referenced and criterion referenced tests, grade retention, and high school achievement, reports of corrective actions, school destruction expenses, and enrollment in advanced courses, performance tasks, and participation in post-secondary education (Edwards, 2006). Data on individual tests can be examined to learn how much students advanced in one year as well as exact strengths and weaknesses connected with the focal point of the test. These data are characteristically broken down to reveal dissimilarities in learning among subgroups of students. The most ordinary way of breaking the data down includes by gender, socioeconomic status, native language, and race (Adkins, 1990).
A second use of data is in the plan and appraisal of staff development efforts, both for decisive and collective reasons. Early in a staff improvement effort, educational leaders must make a decision about what people will learn and be able to do and which kinds of confirmation will be acknowledged as pointers of success. They also establish ways to collect that evidence all through the change process to help make mid-course modifications to reinforce the work of leaders and providers (Adkins, 1990).
A third use of data takes place at the classroom level as teachers collect proof of improvements in student learning in order to establish the effects of their professional learning on their students. Teacher-made tests, assignments, portfolios, and other evidence of student learning can be used by teachers to assess whether staff development has had the desired effects in their classrooms. Since improvements in student learning are an influential motivator for teachers, confirmation of such improvements as a result of staff development experiences helps maintain teacher momentum throughout the expected aggravations and delays that go with multifaceted change efforts (Adkins, 1990). An additional benefit of data analysis, principally the assessment of student work, is that the study of such confirmation is itself a powerful means of staff advance. Teachers who utilize one of the many group processes accessible for the study of students work report that the resulting discussions of the assignment, the connection between the work and content standards, their outlook for student learning, and the utilization of scoring rubrics advance their teaching and student learning (Edwards, 2006).
If data are to offer significant direction in the process of constant improvement, teachers and administrators necessitate professional development in regards to data analysis, designing appraisal tools, putting into practice a variety of forms of evaluation, and comprehending which appraisal to use to make available the preferred information. For the reason that the pre-service preparation of teachers and administrators in assessment and data analysis has been feeble or absent, educators must have liberal chances to obtain knowledge and skills related to the formative classroom appraisal, data compilation, data analysis, and data-driven planning and assessment (Gerrell, 2005).
Data collection in schools is not a new notion. For years, districts have gathered a vast array of student and institutional information, including such items as test scores, enrollment data, budget and finance information and human resources data. In fact, many administrators have been dealing with endlessly expanding data reporting requirements for the past two decades. Many districts are now faced with tight budgets and limited resources, having to make tough decisions about cutting programs (Edwards, 2006). With a data-driven decision making system in place, administrators can rapidly and easily examine the correlation between student participation in these programs and other pointers such as student attendance, discipline incidents and student success, giving them a clear picture about the usefulness of each program. When required to make cuts, ineffective programs can be eliminated based on real-time facts and figures, rather than emotions or assumptions. Data-driven decision making has opened a new world of occasions for schools and a district to supply professional educators, students, and parent's access to large quantities of information. Today, schools can facilitate key decision makers with data and information to assist with more informed decision-making, increase overall school performance and advance student achievement (Adkins, 1990).
According to (Gerrell, 2005), knowledge is power, and there's nothing more powerful than data to help district and school leaders grow a solid blueprint with quantifiable results for ongoing improvement. With the proper use of data, the Gerrell says that districts can:
Narrow achievement gaps - Data provides quantifiable confirmation, taking the passion and guesswork out of what can be tough calls for superintendents and school boards. With a successful data-driven decision making system, states and districts can more effortlessly analyze the performance data by significant student subgroups, dispute assumptions and address troubles at the school and classroom level. On a classroom level, a lot of principals are already utilizing data to settle on student composition. If they find that one or two classes are over-occupied with low accomplishing students, they can apportion extra support resources for those classrooms, or re-distribute students to other classrooms to balance the mix.
Improve teacher quality - Districts can utilize data-driven decision making systems to emphasize the specific and targeted professional development needs of district staff and make better staff development investments. For instance, an examination of student achievement data can help superintendents comprehend which instructional strategies are generating the best results and see where additional training might be required.
Improve curriculum development - Data-driven decision making system permits administrators and teachers to accept a proactive approach to curriculum design and development. Perceptions data, for example, can tell superintendents about parent, student and staff approval with the learning environment, which also could make known areas in need of improvement. Demographic data can be utilized to provide valuable information about meeting the learning needs of students now and in the future.
Find the root causes of problems - Data helps districts and administrators see things they might not otherwise see. When data is looked at from all angles, it may emphasize a program that, even though popular, is not aiding students to learn. Data can help drill down to the root causes of an issue, allowing districts to resolve the whole problem and not just the indicator. This gives educator's great insight…[continue]
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