Evaluation Advice- Ok we have data, now what do we do?

Organize the school

If you are following the WASC process, you will want to create home groups and focus groups. They do similar things, but they are not identical. If you are going through the WASC process, then you absolutely need to follow the manual because things have changed over the last several years. What you did 6 years ago may not be relevant now. If you are not a WASC school and you're just here because you're curious about how to prepare a self-study, these ideas may help you anyway. Be sure that you always look up what the accreditation agency wants you to do so you are sure to meet their requirements.

Homogeneous groups

Homogeneous groups are groups like departments: English, math, science, arts, history, languages, and any other way your school is divided into segments that would normally collaborate on a regular basis. In the homogeneous groups you would analyze test data that specifically applies to that group like scores on the CST/STAR tests. Is there anything going on in the departments on a collaborative level? Common assignments or assessments? What are teachers learning about their students based on their classroom work? Do teachers look at work done in other classrooms to get an idea of other ways content can be addressed?

Mixed groups

Mixed groups are identical with respect to who is represented in the group. Mixed groups will each contain at least one administrator and one person from each department. WASC even wants you to include certificated staff in your mixed focus groups. WASC wants to see that every adult on the campus is involved with the decision making process at the school site. The mixed groups have a specific responsibility with respect to a part of the final written document. For WASC, there are five sections they want schools to consider when examining themselves:

The five criteria categories are:
A. Organization: Vision and Purpose, Governance, Leadership and Staff, and Resources
B. Standards-based Student Learning: Curriculum
C. Standards-based Student Learning: Instruction
D. Standards-based Student Learning: Assessment and Accountability
E. School Culture and Support for Student Personal and Academic Growth Culture

These subsections make up chapter 4 and this is where you need to put the bulk of your writing- more on that in the writing page.

If you are not doing the WASC process and are just here to think about how to organize any type of evaluation, then you can choose the major categories that apply to your situation.

Organize the data

Since you can find historical data online, you are expected to include data that shows trend lines. Be sure to download the correct testing data and get at least three points. Two points may make a line, but three points are needed to show a trend. This is one of the rare cases where doing a line graph would be appropriate. Be careful with the values on the axes so that you don't mislead the visiting team.

If you have administered your perception surveys for three years, that is fantastic! If you have the same questions being asked each time, look to see if attitudes have changed over time. Most public schools now do the CA Healthy Kids survey. If you have three years of data, create trend graphs and discuss what the trends tell you about your kids. I taught at a school that wanted to discuss the implications of data that was only collected once. They were a charter school that chose to not participate in most of the state's things until it seemed to benefit them. They did the Healthy Kids Survey (also a West ED product) and extrapolated all of this heinous conclusions from it. Being a scientist, this was very difficult to sit through because they were abusing the data. If you do not have three sets of data from the same source, then you do not have enough data to evaluate it or to extrapolate and make judgements.

Use this small set of links to move back and forth between the Evaluation Pages:

Link to WASC site so you can download the most recent documents from their website.