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Using Data Solutions


“Principal leadership is critical in establishing and supporting school cultures that enable conversations geared toward improving teaching and learning.”

Jeffrey Wayman & Jo Beth Jimerson
Teacher Needs for Data-related Professional Learning, 2014

This Leadership Portfolio is part of a larger Using Data Leadership Toolkit that helps school and district leaders explore best practices for effective data use and reflect on how these practices can best serve their own contexts and needs.

These questions and links to related resources will get you started…

When you think about your organization:

  • Do staff members share common understandings about data and data practices?
  • Do they consistently use a process to analyze data collaboratively?
  • Do all programs and initiatives make decisions based on evidence?
  • Do they consult multiple data sources to pinpoint problems and guide improvement?
  • Do staff members regularly consult disaggregated data and student work samples to understand where to focus efforts?

As a leader:

  • Do you model effective practices for using data to influence improved policy and practice?
  • Do you provide a safe environment for data-informed discussions that allow problems about student learning and practice to emerge?
  • Do you provide the resources needed for teachers to develop and carry out evidence-based improvement plans?

Using data is not a single event, it is an ongoing conversation that involves all stakeholders. TERC’s Using Data Project can help you start talking!


Need Support? These free resources can help you!

The resources provided here can get you started with developing a strong data-use culture in your district or school that can lead to improved teaching and learning. They include articles, success models, tips, and tools that will help you think about proven best practices related to using data for meaningful change, and help you reflect on next steps for the needs and context of your own organization.

They can also help you determine if classroom teachers and other leaders in your organization need professional development or technical assistance in order to make data a practical and effective part of their everyday work.

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PD Opportunities

YOU can make it happen...we can help!!

If you determine that your district or school can benefit from professional development, TERC’s Using Data Project provides professional training and consultation to develop effective data plans, data leaders, data coaches, and data teams—with the goal of improving teaching and learning in all classrooms.

Offerings include comprehensive, job-embedded institutes and academies, as well as one-day, hands-on sessions for leaders and teachers.
A range of professional development programs provide instruction in our Using Data Process, developed and tested by the researchers at TERC (who were classroom teachers, themselves!)

Professional Development Offerings from TERC’s Using Data Team

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“Even after decades of accountability pressures, teachers still struggle with using data to inform instructional practice, often because they receive inadequate data-related professional learning.”

Jeffrey Wayman & Jo Beth Jimerson
Teacher Needs for Data-related Professional Learning, 2014

Tools and Tips

Data Readiness Assessment: Exploring the Core Values and Beliefs of Your School
This tool can help you assess your school's readiness to use data effectively.

Using Data Tip: Every member of a school community can act as a data leader
View a step-by-step process to help teacher teams begin to integrate data into their professional discussions.

Using Data Tip: Finding Time For Data Inquiry
Explore ideas leaders have used to rethink how time is allocated during the school day and the school year in order to find time to build a culture of data inquiry.

Webinar Archive: Making Time For Teacher Collaboration: Strategies That Work
Collaborative inquiry takes time and thoughtful planning. Discover creative strategies school leaders have used to make time for teachers to solve learning challenges together.


Who Gets Results? Busy People and Wise Leaders: Part 1 and Part 2
This two-part article share thoughts about involving teachers as data leaders and the level of support a wise leader provides to ensure that they are successful.

Flex Your School’s Data Muscles: Leadership Strategies Strengthen Data’s Impact
This article by Using Data Senior Facilitator Jennifer Unger published in JSD, the Learning Forward Journal, describes what leadership for a high-performing data culture looks like.

Stories About Schools Using Data

Rowland Unified School District (RUSD), Rowland, CA
A Leadership Model For Data Use That Embraces Three Key Components: Expectation, Support, Involvement
This story describes how one district embraced and modeled best practices for using data well and supplied the support that built a culture of meaningful data use across its schools.

San Mateo Elementary School, Duval County FL
The Journey to Create a Data Driven School Culture
This story describes how one principal achieved distributed data-leadership in her school.

Middle School 217 in Briarwood, Queens
Continuous Learning Gets Results in NYC — Coming Soon!
This story by William Heller, Professional Development Facilitator for Teaching Matters in New York City describes the impact a data-informed leader can have on a school designated as a “School in Need of Improvement”.

Study: Teacher Needs for Data-related Professional Learning
Jeffrey C. Wayman and Jo Beth Jimerson, 2014

Once you explore the resources in TERC’s Using Data For Meaningful Change Leadership Portfolio, you might be interested in this study that explores two questions:
1. What skills do teachers believe are necessary to use data effectively?
2. How do teachers want to receive data-related professional learning.