The ‘Data Wise’ way

“Data Wise”—a book based on collaborative work between Boston Public Schools and Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty and students—lays out eight steps to help schools improve teaching by better analyzing student work and test results. The process could impact Chicago directly, as CPS is considering hiring “Data Wise” researchers as consultants. Here’s a look at the process:


Step 1: Organize for collaborative work

Train a small group of people who will lead the way on the collection, management and analysis of student data

Step 2: Build assessment literacy

Know what’s being tested and how to interpret the results


Step 3: Create a data overview

Use small “data teams” to chart key student measures

Step 4: Dig into student data

Begin searching data for patterns that will highlight what students know and think

Step 5: Examine instruction

Reframe identified learning problems into new and better ways to teach


Step 6: Develop an action plan

Choose an instructional strategy that dovetails with earlier work

Step 7: Plan to assess progress

Determine how to assess the improvement plan as it unfolds

Step 8: Act and assess

Do it and repeat the process, starting at Step 3

For more information, read about the process in the Harvard Education Letter (January/February 2006).