This is the second in a promised gloss on each of the 11 THINGS INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS MUST BE THINKING ABOUT featured in my previous post. (I recap the entire list below the body of this post.)
#2. Data-informed decision-making
It’s something schools will all have to do, right there in the small and not-so-small print of every independent school accreditation protocol, starting right now. If you haven’t made an effort to gather and organize data on student performance—standardized test scores are the obvious place to start, but there are some new and interesting instruments like the College & Work Readiness Assessment (see also post # 4 in this series) that can extend the range of your analysis—it’s worth spending some time to set up, at the very least, a comprehensive database.
Since most schools aren’t fortunate enough to have data or statistics gurus on staff, they should begin to consider the kinds of intellectual and technical resources they might need to make sensible use of student data. Local universities can help, perhaps—look for either educational psychometricians or business faculty with experience on the quantitative side of human relations. But find the help you need to make sense of what you have and to understand both what you can learn and what you will need to know. Ignoring the imperative will not make it go away.
The National Association of Independent Schools and a few other professional organizations have been working on “dashboards” (here’s an example) that use quantitative information to guide schools toward sustainable practices (not just Green, but financial, demographic, global, and of course programmatic). Have someone in your school become familiar with these and consider how they could be helpful in both strategic and day-to-day planning.
So, who is thinking about data-informed decision-making at your school?
The 11 Things:
- Design Thinking. What-ing? DONE
- Data-informed decision-making DONE
- Collaborative learning and (related issue) project design
- Smart assessment of student learning
- Social media—for advancement
- Social media—in the classroom
- New directions for your library
- Online learning
- Strategic professional
- Shorter horizons for strategic thinking
- Being Green