Learning Facts: The brave new world of data-informed instruction

November 1, 2006

In just the last ten years, goaded by broad and still unsettled cultural shifts, education practices have changed dramatically. Schools are no longer just recording and analyzing inputs – dollars spent, number of days of instruction, numbers of students per teacher – but pushing their data-gathering and analysis efforts into the brave new world of outcomes.

Who is dropping out and why? Which students are reading at grade level, and which are not? How are 4th graders doing on fractions and decimals? Today’s educators are deciphering, and using, the results of student assessments better than ever. And it is not a reform at the margins.

This article from the Winter 2007 issue of Education Next takes a close look at three schools that have integrated data into their instructional decisionmaking: Evelyn S. Thompson Elementary School in Aldine, Texas; Feaster-Edison Elementary School in Chula Vista, California; and Elm City College Preparatory School in New Haven, Connecticut. Each has concluded that the practice has helped improve student achievement.