Uniting School Administrators to Create a Better World

Analyzing Data – Professional Learning Communities – Our First Depatment Meeting

Hello again,

The admin team sat down recently with our department chair teachers to discuss the results of the common assessments that were given by each department.

It was an interesting conversation.

Being in really our first year of the PLC model, we are still trying to learn how it works and working through some of the changes that have to take place in the way teachers do things.

It was great to see that the departments were collaborating and making time to create these common assessments. This was one of the first hurdles in moving toward a PLC model.

The next step in the process was to collect and analyze the data to begin providing interventions.

One thing our principal said was, “The common assessment isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on if we don’t use it to create learning strategies.”

He’s right. What good is taking the time to create a common assessment if we’re not going to take action on the information that we get from it?

It is easy to say, “We gave the common assessment, so now we’re a PLC school.”

Unfortunately, the common assessment is only the first part of the PLC program.

The principal passed around a sheet called, “Data Analysis Protocol.” He downloaded it from the PLC website. You can find it here. http://allthingsplc.info/pdf/tools/data_analysis_protocol.pdf

The questions asked are:

1. Which of our students need additional time and support to achieve at or above proficiency on an essential learning? How will we provide that time and support?

2. What is our plan to enrich and extend the learning for students who are highly proficient?

3. What is an area where my students struggled? What strategies were used by teammates whose students performed well?

4. What is an area where our team’s students struggled? What do we believe is the cause? What is our plan for improving the results?

The Data Analysis Protocol is great for getting the teams to take the data that is shown in the common assessments and taking appropriate action.

Some key points that were brought up were:

1. In answering the first question about which students need additional time and support, we have to write down specific student names. We can’t just say, “our first period, or our EL students.” The data is there to target specific students who need the extra help.

2. In answering question #2, we can’t leave the students who did well on the assessment alone. We have to find some way to challenge them to reach higher.

3. In answering question #3, it’s essential to ask the question, “How did you deliver your lesson that enabled your students to do so well on the assessment?” This takes trust and the desire to change. It may mean that the way we’ve taught the lesson isn’t the best way.

4. The fourth question again needs the teacher to consider the possibility that improvement lies in changing the way the lesson is delivered. It’s easy to blame the student, and perhaps the student’s motivational level or ability level is at fault, but real progress can only be made when teachers look for ways to better deliver the lesson that will reach even the motivationally-challenged student.


The PLC model is the way I see the future of education is going. I’m glad that I’m in a position to see how it works from the beginning. I’ll be adding more of what I learn in future posts.


Thoughts? Questions? Complaints?


Is your school using the PLC model? How is it working? What are the challenges you are facing? What are some of the successes you’re seeing?






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