According to Gill, Borden, and Hallgren, (2014), as states, districts, and schools search for strategies to assist raise student achievement and improve college readiness, they are utilizing an increasingly broad range of data to inform decisions at all levels of the education system. Supporters of data-driven decision making have encouraged institutions and districts to move toward a continuous quality improvement orientation, encompassing goal setting, measurement, and feedback processes. This is with an aim to monitor and evaluate programs and processes and to link the results to individual and schools' outcomes. Mandinach (2012) adds that data and DDDM have become important in education because of the increasing emphasis on rigor, as espoused by the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute if Education Sciences (IES), in practice and research. Just as Gill et al. (2014) noted that there is both a science and an art to teaching, so too is there a place for both rigor and experience in the decision-making process. Mainly, the emerging emphasis is placed strongly on the use of data and hard evidence from which to inform practice (Mandinach, 2012).
This plan will be based on the DDDM model below presented by Mandinach (2012) since it focuses on school improvement. The model emphasizes on accountability, it is school centered, and permits schools to take the challenge internally to analyze data. The model enables schools to use data analysis to diagnose areas that need change. Moreover, it has the advantage of drilling down to and outlining the cognitive skills that are hypothesized to be involved in the DDDM.
As the figure shows, the framework will be grounded on a continuum in which data are transformed into information and then to knowledge. In particular, the model breaks down the process into a data level, information level and knowledge level. According to Mandinach (2012), data are seen to exist in a raw state without meaning. Information is data given meaning within a specific context while knowledge is a collection of information deemed useful to guide action.
In the data level, data will be gathered and organized (Mandinach, 2012). In particular, the implementation team, mainly the classroom teachers, will collect student portfolios, classroom assignments and other student behavioral data. The team will then triangulate among various sources of data and arrange them in a manner from which they can make sense. However, the data alone are only numbers (Gill et al., 2014). Thus, there will be a need to contextualize the numbers to make sense of them. At the information level, the team will analyze and summarize the information. In essence, the team will analyze the data and examine performance trends to make sense of the performance patterns. They will develop summaries of how individual students are performing in change of character.
These summaries will be transformed into knowledge in the knowledge level where the team will synthesize and prioritize the information. In particular, the team will synthesize the information in a way they will assist in the formation of a knowledge base about the students' performance. This base will be the foundation from which decisions will be made (Mandinach, 2012). That is, the team must prioritize among the information and knowledge to establish the best courses of action to take to develop character and habits of mind in the students. The team will use this knowledge to make a decision that will be implemented and its impact assessed.
However, while this model provides a lot of what this plan is looking to achieve in a DDDM model there is a large concern that the model needs the implementation team members to be skilled in interpreting the data. While the implementation team is diverse regarding knowledge and cultural competence, the teachers and school administrators have adequate knowledge in models of DDDM. When taking into account the level of dedication and willingness to share skills on the implementation team, another approach, DDDM as a Reflective Process, presented by Gill et al. (2014) will be incorporated. Notably, this approach fits the needs and skills of the implementation team more intimately while still meeting the requirements for this DDDM plan to be effective.
In this model, the team members will work collaboratively around their practices. For instance, the teachers and school administrators will provide data from within the school settings while parents and community representatives will bring data from home and community settings. This will permit the inclusion of cultural practices that diverse communities use to develop character in children. Thus, in this model, the collaboration among team members and the reflection created together will be lead to additional information to the analysis of the data above. Notably, this method will allow the team to create a dialogue around what is necessary for improvement of character and development of habit in mind skills in students.
Mainly, the cyclical process that involves a high level of discussion will be common. By having a preconceived set of steps to work through the data the team will be in a continuous cycle of reflection based on the decisions that will be made (Gill et al., 2014). Also, the cyclical process will allow the team to often meet to work in a cycle of improvement to foster student growth. Stakeholders will also grow in the process as strategies will be shared through the discussions leading to the development of skills and knowledge on how to best nurture the children's character and habits of mind. Additionally, the process will facilitate the change is the status quo that college is an expected part of American society.
Relevant Data/Needs Analysis
The team will need to gather data from the sub group of students in elementary school. Moreover, as previously stated in the introduction teaching children things like perseverance, self-control, and empathy improves their health, academic achievement, and success in life (Costa & Kallick, 2000; Johnson, Rutledge, & Poppe, 2005; Anderson, 2016). Mainly, this is a specific subset of students and the skills to be taught are relatively new. Thus, the data is not a pre-created search and teachers will need to manually gather and process information into charts for the team to analyze. Identifying these participants will be the initial step in data collection to focus on the skills to teach and how the technology of those skills could best support them.
It is essential that all stakeholders will have already gathered and organized their data into the recommended charts prior to the meeting.
The team will explain the purpose of the assessments being analyzed. In particular, they will seek to answer the question: What essential character traits and habits of mind are we analyzing?
The team will determine the essential question to answer in the meeting. Sample questions would include:
- What essential character traits do assessments show the students have mastered?
- What habits of mind did the students master after that unit?
- How can we use this information to drive our planning?
- What cultural competent skills can we adopt to diversify the students' set of skills?
Step 2: Analyze and Summarize Information
The team will assess data to find patterns of strengths and weaknesses
The team will use essential character traits and habits of mind to determine these patters. They will strive to answer the questions: what essential character traits and habits of mind are most important? What are the students' strengths and needs in these areas?
Step 3: Using Knowledge
Select a character trait or a habit of mind from the data assessment
Reflect on why the character trait or the habit of mind may exist from an instructional level. Here, the team will attempt to answer the question: What instructional aspects might have led to the patterns of student scores on these assessments?
Step 4: Decide and Implement
Make a decision on how to develop the character trait or habit of mind. An important question to answer can be: What steps will we take to develop these straits in the students?
Start to take steps for the new implementation, for example, create lesson plans that incorporate development of character traits in children.
The team will decide on when to re-assess. In particular, they will seek to answer the question: How and when will we re-assess to determine progress?
Step 5: Impact and Feedback (Carried out within the classroom setting and at home)
Teachers will implement the meeting's results
Team will re-collect and organize data for the next meeting
Teachers, parents and community representatives will reflect on feedback and implement into daily practices
Knowledge Management in Implementation Plan
Fullan (2002) argues that information becomes knowledge only when it takes on a 'social life'. In essence, to fully gain knowledge from data, institutions must ensure that they are moving tacit knowledge from people into entity wisdom. Moreover, each member of both the implementation team and school administration must be committed to the process of sharing knowledge (Fullan, 2012). Therefore, an essential part of the data protocol will be using knowledge management throughout the process. Therefore, to learn from the data presented and the new data collected from different stakeholders, the implementation team must ensure that they are nurturing a culture of communication and collaboration.
Moreover, the data collected is only as strong as the change it can bring. In this context, the gathering of knowledge from various stakeholders must be used to create a data-based plan and monitoring system that can actively be utilized in teaching character traits and habits of mind in elementary school children. In addition, teachers, parents and community members must be willing to share best practices with their peers, mainly when looking at how to develop a strong data-based plan for the school. In summary, stakeholders within the school and the community must be willing to engage in a culture of collaboration, sharing and honing of practices to foster children growth in schools, at home and within the society.
Various stakeholders will be involved in the implementation of this plan to meet the targeted results. These will include the people who will access, analyze, or review the data encompassed in the plan. The stakeholders will include classroom teachers, school administrators, state education agency officials, select community members, parents, students. Since the stakeholders will be working...
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