DATA-DRIVEN DECISION MAKING

What It Is:

Five years ago, very few educators had even heard the term “Data-Driven Decision Making.”  Today, very few have not.  DDDM, or “informed instruction,” is the practice of using real-time assessment data to inform teachers’ instruction. By frequently looking at data, educators can know exactly which students are struggling/succeeding and which standards/skills they have mastered or need help with.  On a higher level, data is also used to assist in the evaluation of programs and/or curriculum.

How eDoctrina Helps:

eDoctrina is an assessment data program.  It is the tool that creates the data which is so critical to student achievement.  Its wide range of reports can help teachers quickly pin-point students and standards with the goal of providing young people with extra help or enrichment activities. Various reports can provide real-time snapshots on the individual-student, class, grade and even building levels.  They can also generate historical data as well as comparisons on large or small scaled. Leading Expert – Douglas Reeves, PhD

ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING (AFL)

What It Is:

With the article “Inside the Black Box,” originally published in 1998, an educational practice known as Assessment for Learning (AFL) has gained much notoriety. Having been called “one of the most important instructional strategies ever studied,” AFL is focused on the use of scaffolded learning targets written in student-friendly language and activities that are intended to engage youths in monitoring their own educational progress.  At the core of these practices is the use of affirming “I Can” statements which students use to self-identify those skills/standards they have mastered and those they need help with.

How eDoctrina Helps:

eDoctrina comes pre-loaded (no additional modules are required) with reports and functionality that allow teachers to harness the power of AFL and engage young people. In fact, AFL strategies pop up in a number of eDoctrina’s tools.  The Unit and Lesson Planning tools provide users several opportunities to break state standards down into student-friendly, scaffolded steps, making them a bit easier for young people to understand.  The Individual Student Report’s “Learning Plan” hand-out allows students to see and self-track first their progress on specific skills/standards. Leading Expert – Richard Stiggins

RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION (RTI)

What It Is:

Another practice that is becoming increasingly popular is Response to Intervention (RTI).  This refers to the practice of educators intervening to support struggling students in a proactive manner.  Schools use data to identify students that are falling behind, monitor their progress, provide evidence-based interventions and adjust those interventions depending on a student’s responsiveness. Student supports are offered at increasing levels (tiers) based on needs.

How eDoctrina Helps:

eDoctrina helps drive the RTI process by providing educators with the data needed to identify those that are having trouble keeping up – before it’s too late. eDoctrina’s reports shine a spotlight on students, classes, grade levels, and even individual skills/standards, allowing teachers to individually tailor intervention activities. Leading Expert – Michael Mattos

PRIORITY STANDARDS

What They Are:

Most states have hundreds of learning standards and many more subsets of those standards.  Educators can’t (and shouldn’t) teach them all in great depth.  So, the process of identifying those standards that are most important is critical to helping teachers focus their instruction.

How eDoctrina Helps:

eDoctrina’s Power Standards tool (which is pre-loaded and NOT an extra module available for purchase) allows users to rate standards in four categories: •       Endurance — Ask “Will this standard/skill provide students with knowledge that will endure throughout their academic career and/or professional life?” •       Leverage — Ask “Will this standard provide knowledge and skills that will be of value in multiple disciplines?” •       Readiness for the next level of learning — Ask “Will this standard provide students with essential knowledge and skills that are necessary for success in their next grade level?” •       High Stakes – Ask “Is the standard likely to be included on high stakes assessments (ex. state tests) that students will take?” This process creates a “Power” rating for every standard; a number that will follow that standard/skill throughout eDoctrina (Unit and Lesson Planning, Assessment Creation, etc.).  Having the “Power” rating so easily accessible will allow teachers to make more informed decisions on what to focus their instruction on. Leading Expert – Larry Ainsworth

COMMON FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS

What They Are:

Formative assessments are frequently assigned activities (not necessarily test, exams or quizzes) given throughout a lesson or unit that provide teachers with measures of student progress.  “Common” assessments refer to those given by every teacher on a particular team or grade level. Common formative assessments provide a true “apples-to-apples” comparison among classes and students that can stimulate discussions about which instructional strategies are working and which aren’t.

How eDoctrina Helps:

With eDoctrina, the creation, analyzing and storing of common formative assessments has never been easier.  Lightning-quick scanning ability means that teachers can react to student needs within hours of giving an assessment, paving the way for more frequent, formative assessments. Leading Expert – Larry Ainsworth

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES (PLCs)

What They Are:

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are educational environments in which teachers work together as a team.  They hold each other accountable and focus more on learning and less on teaching (“Are my students doing a good job of learning standards?” vs. “Am I doing a good job of teaching the standards?”). This team approach fosters collaboration among educators, encouraging them to share best practices and approaches.  It also ties to the giving of common assessments.

How eDoctrina Helps:

eDoctrina supports PLCs in two ways.  First, it fosters common planning among grade-level teams.  Its unit and lesson planning interfaces allow for teachers to more easily work together to come up with cooperative learning objectives. Second, its reporting tools provide all the comparative data needed (by class, grade, student, etc.) to spur important discussions among team members. The process of a team sitting down, looking at classroom data and sharing those strategies that are working is critical.  The educator-led team at eDoctrina Corp. highly recommends these discussions take place regardless of what software product is being using to provide the data. Leading Expert – Richard Dufour, EdD