Doing What Works Promotes Research-Based Practices for High School Administrators

Doing What Works (DWW), a U.S. Department of Education funded, web-based project, translates research-based practices into usable resources, such as tools and media, to help promote student achievement. A session presented at the 2012 conference of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) in Tampa, Florida, March 8-10 2012, provided approximately 70 high school administrators with a firsthand look at how these resources can help them infuse more research-based strategies into their practice.

The session’s underlying theme was the use of student data in making school-based decisions. Session attendees heard from Elizabeth City, a leading researcher from Harvard University, on how to use a questioning process to break down data figures into actionable steps. They also heard from two administrators about how to develop a data-driven culture at the school level. Attendees used an instructional plan from a Washington, DC-area high school as a jumping off point for a discussion on data-informed curricular decisions.

Attendees discussed using additional types of data, such as attendance and behavior data, to support school-level goals, such as dropout prevention. Nicholas Montgomery of the Consortium on Chicago School Research presented on indicators that show whether ninth graders are on track to graduate. Attendees were introduced to the National High School Center’s Early Warning System Tool to help implement this data-based dropout prevention strategy.  The session concluded with strategies for using middle school-level data to inform course placement as well as high school and postsecondary transitions. This led to a lively discussion on some other content featured under DWW’s Postsecondary Access topic, including how to engage students in higher-level thinking around their own data. The presenter concluded with a brief description of content under DWW’s Student Use of Data practice, featured under the Data-Driven Decision Making topic.

Guest Author: Janet Lundeen is a Research Analyst on Doing What Works and has presented on DWW content at numerous regional and national conferences and as part of direct professional development sessions with States and districts. 

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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