Quill Research Associates, in partnership with REL AP at CNA will host three workshops in 2015. Goals of each workshop are as follows.
- Introduce middle school principals and teachers to the process of engaging in discussions with their peers about sources and causes1 of student learning problems and how to use this information to assess and improve their teaching.
- Teach middle school principals and teachers how to analyze and interpret data to adjust instruction in their own classrooms, particularly in the content areas of English and math, to solve student learning problems.
- Introduce school and division leaders to the process of engaging in discussions about sources and causes of student learning problems and how to use this information to assess and/or develop policies, structures, and procedures that address these problems.
- Teach data leaders how to analyze and interpret data to inform decisions about reallocating division/school resources in order to address student learning problems.
- Teach division-level data managers2 how to catalog data available division wide to determine the feasibility of using such data for an early warning system (EWS) identification study.
- Share practices for extrapolating data from commonly used student information systems across Virginia, such as PowerSchool® and Tyler SIS.
- Demonstrate the methodology and process of conducting an identification study to determine the division-specific middle school indicators3 of students being on (and off) track in grade 9.
These workshops were developed to address specific needs of educators in Virginia and build on the work we conducted in 2014. Specifically, Virginia uses an early warning system to identify grade 9 students who are at risk of not graduating from high school.4 The Virginia Middle School Research Alliance (VMSRA)—comprising representatives from Virginia’s middle schools, local central offices, and the Virginia Department of Education—is interested in expanding that EWS to the middle school level. To support the alliance as it establishes an EWS in its middle schools, REL Appalachia conducted a series of projects in 2014:
- Review and catalog of extant EWS data collected in a sample of alliance middle schools in order to assess the feasibility of using such data for an EWS identification study.
- Identification study to develop middle school early warning indicators.
- In-depth interviews with educators in three rural middle schools to learn what data and data systems are available at the building level; how educators describe their experiences, knowledge, and skills using data; and what organizational components exist that will support or impede effective data use. This project is informing future technical assistance activities.
- Two workshops on data use for middle school educators and building/division leaders (Data Use Primer: Starting with the End in Mind; Establishing the Foundation of an Effective Data Community in Virginia Middle Schools), described in more detail below.
The workshop series in 2015 builds on this work and provides direct technical analytic assistance to educators, building their capacity to use data to improve student and system outcomes.