CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator

Vol. 45, No. 20

March 16, 2011

State Board Updated on Benefits of Data Teams

During its March meeting, the State Board of Education received information on how educators throughout Missouri have been learning the best ways to utilize student-performance data to achieve maximum results.

The collection and use of student-performance data has been identified by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as a key aspect of school improvement.  Using the concept of data teams, the Department has embarked on a statewide initiative that began last August at the annual conference for school administrators.

According to Leigh Ann Grant-Engle, assistant commissioner for the Office of Data System Management, data teams distinguish the difference between discussing data and actually using data to produce results.

“It’s not just getting the data, but then helping schools use the data,” she said during her presentation to the State Board.

Data teams are small, grade-level, department, course-alike or organizational teams that examine results generated from common assessments and common scoring guides.  These assessments, designed collaboratively by teachers, provide information so teachers can monitor and adjust research-based instructional strategies and their own teaching behaviors.  Data teams allow teachers to set improvement goals based on actual student-achievement data. The main focus is always on teaching and learning.

The State Board watched a short video of a team meeting from an elementary school.  Grant-Engle said it is important to create a culture at the local level of using data effectively.  Team meetings can reduce teacher isolation, increase collaboration and provide consistency to help members address learning issues across all content areas.

The state’s overall goal is to have data teams in every school building in Missouri.  So far, representatives from 250 school districts (and almost 1,400 individuals in total) have participated in two-day training sessions on data teams. The Department has worked to certify trainers capable of replicating the two-day training.  To date, there are 125 certified trainers throughout the state.  Certified trainers allow the state to build its internal capacity to deliver and monitor the effectiveness of data teams.

Moving forward, the Department will work on coordinating a unified approach to data teams among different statewide initiatives (Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support, Response to Intervention, the Missouri Professional Learning Communities Project and others).  The Department also will work to provide high-quality technical assistance and will publically report the successes of data teams throughout the state.  Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro said that feedback from districts about data teams has been positive.