In response to the 8/17/2011 post, “Student vs. Teacher Data,” a LYS Principal writes: SC, I enjoyed your post, Student vs. Teacher Data.” Ronald Thomas shares your thoughts as he writes the following on this very subject in Education Week (My Nine Truths of Data Analysis – 6/15/2011): “Focus on instructional insights derived from data. We don’t need ‘data driven’ schools. We desperately need ‘knowledge driven’ schools…Data are useless unless organized into meaningful patterns. Some schools are getting better at creating charts and graphs that can be useful to teacher teams, but others are drowning in data. The most important questions in data analyses are not ‘What did the students score,’ and ‘How many passed”. The most important questions are:

  • What do the students know?
  • What do they not know?
  • What are we going to do about it?”

Common assessments, utilized properly, target short-term lesson planning and drive the planning/instructional delivery engine. Without adjusting lesson plans and adult behavior according to the teacher data—we are simply wasting a tremendous amount of time, energy, and printer ink. Lead On. SC Response I take Thomas’ three questions to an even more focused level.

  1. What practices improved student performance?
  2. What practices stymied student performance?
  3. How do we know this?
  4. How do more or less of the identified practices.

When a campus is asking and answering these questions within short assessment windows, the effect is continuous incremental improvements to schools systems and teacher practices that result in increasing student success. The leadership challenge is to push and pull staff up to the point where they see, experience and appreciate the value of working in such a system. This does not magically occur. But once it does (as you are experiencing at your multi-year, exemplary campus) just point them in the right direction and get out of their way. Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn… Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on! Attend the LYS presentations at the Texas School Improvement Conference on 10/27/11

  • Improve Now – 8:00am
  • The Fundamental 5 – 9:45am
  • You Can’t Fix What You Can’t See – 10:15am

Follow Sean Cain and LYS on Confirmed 2012 Presentations: NASSP Conference; NASB Conference