Elevate School Outcomes: Ten Tips to Create an Effective Data Team Print or save as PDF

Presented by: Meghan Bell, The Learning Bar

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10 Steps Checklist

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Webinar Q&A’s: 10 Steps to Building a High-Performing Data Team

We already have a data group, but they assess data from the past. Could we use the same data group?
You could. I would recommend that you include different members of the school community. Some members that you might like to have a look out for are instructional leaders, literacy coaches, guidance counselors are really great to have on the team, and department heads. The best number for your team is about four to eight people. That obviously depends on your school size, and you will probably know what's right for you. As long as you include a variety of people, it will help in getting school wide support and provide some shared ownership for the team members.


How would you go about sharing the data with other members of the school community, like educators or administrators for example?
I really recommend a presentation to the greater school community with an overview of some key strategies, or what you come up with. Something like a PowerPoint does really well, you could do that at the end of each semester or term. Describe the work of the team, where they're at, what they've been doing, and explain any progress that's being made. But presentations definitely do well, and that's what I would recommend.


Regarding pulling together different people from different areas to evaluate the data, what if the people have different levels of understanding, or no experience interpreting data?
That is such a good question. You don't need to have data experts joining the team, and you don't need to have expertise in data analysis or anything like that. We want to make sure that our team members have a variety of skills – everyone is going to bring something different to the table. You might have someone who has really great knowledge about students. For resource allocation, for example, you may get someone who's really great at data analysis. You want to make sure that everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are supporting each other. You may want to look for someone who is currently responsible for leading and supporting data use in the school, or who is there to provide support from the school administration side. Basically, if you think about the data team, it's going to be a nice mosaic of all the people who you have employed in your school, and they're all going to provide different perspectives. That's why I don't think that you need to have a huge group of people who are professionals in data analysis, because you need to have multiple perspectives.


Which analytical tools would you recommend?
OurSCHOOL offers a variety of reporting tools that can be used to examine your data including: thematic reports based on predetermined topics (e.g, bullying & school safety); one-click reports that provide a summary of all selected measures disaggregated by sex; interactive charts that will allow you to apply various disaggregates to dig deeper into your data; and trend reports that present a trend line to easily assess year-over-year progress of your results. Each of these reports will provide a unique lens through which you can view your data, based on your strategic goals and the mandate of your data team. For those who are looking to perform more in-depth statistical analyses there is an additional option of receiving data as a CSV or SPSS file. The OurSCHOOL team can work with you to determine which source of data is most beneficial for your needs and to guide you through accessing and interpreting your results.


Who will usually set up the data team, the school or the district? Is there a standard?
It can be either one. In some cases, it's the district. District leaders may assist the schools in setting up the team. Sometimes it's the school that's entirely responsible for establishing the team. But you do still need to work with the district just to make sure they have the data that the school needs. But it's really a personal preference.


What type of tasks and responsibilities would the team be responsible for?
The types of tasks and responsibilities for the team could be reviewing, analyzing, interpreting data. Making sure that the data is used for school planning decisions, and that it's aligned with district goals. And then also making sure that stakeholders are involved in certain stages, or made aware of different things. It's outlined in the guide if you want a little more information, so just reach out for that.


Usually the district provides analytics for the school. What is the difference between district analytics and school analytics?
School analytics would be the day-to-day data that teachers collect, tests for example. Some products, like the OurSCHOOL product as well. You're getting your school data from the school survey and will be able to look at all of your school level statistics and data there.


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