Every few weeks I receive an email from the Data Quality Campaign, an organization dedicated to the “effective use of data to improve student achievement.”   This week the organization highlighted 10 principles for using and safeguarding student data. These principles were supported by 33 nationally recognized organizations, including the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the NEA, the National PTA, and the National School Boards Association (NSBA), among others.  

 What struck me was the similarity of these principles to Indistar indicators and documents produced by the Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL) and the Academic Development Institute (ADI).  Take a look at these principles and see what you think. We'd be interested in your reaction.

 In particular, let me propose some examples where I think these principles align with our indicators and documents.

Principle 1 – Student data should be used to further and support student learning and success.


Principle 3 - Student data should be used as a tool for informing, engaging, and empowering students, families, teachers, and school system leaders.

Numerous indicators highlight the importance of using student data to inform curriculum, instruction, grouping, etc. A few examples follow:

  • ID10 states: The school’s Leadership Team regularly looks at school performance data and aggregated classroom observation data and uses that data to make decisions about school improvement and professional development needs. (45)
  • IID08 states: Instructional Teams use student learning data to assess strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum and instructional strategies. (106)
  • IID10 states: Instructional Teams use student learning data to identify students in need of instructional support or enhancement. (108)

Principle 2 - Student data are most powerful when used for continuous improvement and personalizing student learning.

This principle combines two important concepts underlying our work.  The first is the concept of continuous improvement, which forms the bedrock of Indistar philosophy.  The graphic in the Theory of Action (on every school's Home Page) highlights the essential nature of Continuous Improvement to the Indistar process.

Secondly, the concept of personalizing student learning is the focus of the new series Sam has written for CIL on Personal Competencies. 

In Personal Competencies in Personalized Learning, Sam links theory to practice by providing examples of how the four personal competencies (cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, and social/emotional) can be developed. He provides many examples of strategies and resources that support development in the community, the school, and the classroom.


Principle 4 - Students, families, and educators should have timely access to information collected about the student.

Indicator IG01 states: Parents receive regular communication (absent jargon) about learning standards, their children’s progress, and the parents’ role in their children’s school success. (76)

 Principles 6-10 relate to who should have access to student data.

 Indicator IID04 states: The school maintains a central database that includes each student’s test scores, placement information, demographic information, attendance, behavior indicators, and other variables useful to teachers. (102)

Embedded in this indicator are a couple of key words that align with these principles.  The implication of “maintains” is that the district/school has guidelines and procedures that define who has access to the data and how it is protected.  The phrase “and other variables useful to teachers” implies to me that other student information can reside here, including student work samples and other informal assessments that demonstrate progress over time. This data can provide valuable information for next-year’s teacher to see where student have been and what they need next. 


The Data Quality Campaign site can be found at www.dataqualitycampaign.org

Aimee Rogstad Guidera, founder and executive director of the Data Quality Campaign has authored the lead article in the February 2015 edition of the Kappan.

We’d like hearing your reactions to this blog and to the issues about the effective use and safeguarding of student data. 

Please post your comments in the Your Reflections or Discussion section of IndistarConnect.  To enter a comment, click on the blue + sign in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and do these four easy things to publish or contact me at larrykugler@gmail.com for assistance. 

  1. Enter a Title
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  4. Click "Publish"

Your colleagues look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks.

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Paul Axtell

With more than thirty years of experience helping organizations and individuals be more effective, Paul Axtell has honed his insights in executive offices and training programs for everyone from office staff and line workers to managers and team leaders.

A large focus of his work is how to run effective and productive meetings—to turn them from something people dread into useful, productive sessions with trackable results.

Paul is the author of multiple books, including Meetings Matter: 8 Powerful Strategies for Remarkable Conversations, Being Remarkable, and Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids. He can be reached at <a href="http://www.paulaxtell.com">www.paulaxtell.com</a> and via email at paulaxtell@mac.com.
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