Managing Student Data:
4 Things Every Charter School Should Be Doing
As charter school leaders, you know the variety of data that is collected for each student. You can measure whether students are on grade level or not, how quickly they’re progressing, and if they’re expecting to meet grade level this school year.
But having all this data and using it effectively are two different things. Charter schools should use all the data they collect to help guide their plans on the individual student level, by grade, and for the school as a whole.
So what are the best ways for charter schools to use their data?
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1. Track Your Growth Rate
When prioritizing the data you look at, charter schools should start with their student growth rate. For charter schools working with students that may be significantly below grade level, this metric helps teachers and administrators determine if students are learning what’s being taught and which students may need additional attention.
By monitoring each student’s growth rate, charter school leaders can identify issues early and give at-risk students mentoring and adjust their learning plans.
School leaders can also use the growth rate to determine how they’re doing on an overall level as a school and see trends on a class and grade level.
2. Implement A Behavior Management System
In addition to tracking growth rates, charter schools can also get valuable data from a behavior management system like Dean’s List or Kickboard. By tracking metrics like merits, demerits, and suspensions, school leaders can aggregate data based on attendance and other areas. This data can then be used to see if there’s a statistically significant issue in areas like absences, tardiness, etc.
Once you’ve identified the issue impacting student and school performance, you can create specific interventions to address those issues.
3. Determine Your KPIs And Outcomes
You can continue to get more value from your data by setting goals and then creating key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your progress. With annual goals – improve test scores, bring more students up to reading level, etc. – it can be difficult to know how you’re doing and if you can reasonably expect to meet your goals when you’re looking out 12 months.
Creating a KPI is a good way to check in weekly, monthly, or quarterly to see if you’re on track. For example, if your goal is to improve graduation rates, you may set a KPI that tracks any failing grades for graduation-eligible seniors.
4. Use Data To Guide Your Institution
By tracking and analyzing all the student data you have, you can incorporate that information into your larger planning process. Metrics show you how the school is operating as a whole, on a grade level, and on a class level.
Tracking the same metrics over time helps you see major trends in your school and can help you identify any weaknesses or opportunities that may not be readily apparent. But in order to do this successfully, charter schools must collect data in an easily accessible format so it can be analyzed and used for reporting.
Often charter schools are using Excel spreadsheets to collect data. While you can manipulate the data with pivot tables, for more advanced reporting schools may need to move to a more sophisticated system.
The other piece that school leaders should consider is creating a data champion. This person, or team, is an advocate and guide for all things related to data. They help teachers and administrators understand what data they have, how it can be pulled, what types of reports are available, and how they can be used to influence planning.
The best schools use data extensively to drive decision-making and instruction, school-wide. Once your staff is comfortable with the data, it can be used to inform choices in every area of school administration and teaching. Using this level of data-driven insight can help you be more confident in your ability to achieve your educational goals.
Share Your Experiences:
How does your school use data? Are you using Excel or a school-specific software system? In what areas of school administration are you using data? Do you have any advice you’d share? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
- Charter schools have a lot of data, but don’t often get the full value from it
- School leaders can take four key steps to start getting more benefits from their data
- Start by tracking your growth rate
- Add a behavior management system to look at issues with attendance, tardiness, etc.
- Look at setting up KPIs to ensure you can meet your yearly goals
- Use the data you’ve collected to inform administrative and educational goals for your school