Each spring, many district administrators out there are tasked with reporting metrics to others in their communities – from parents to school boards – that answer the question, “How are the schools in our community doing?”
Analyzing and interpreting student data can be a time-consuming process, and it's hard to know what conclusions to draw. Researchers at NWEA recognized the need to make this annual data gathering and reporting easier. About two years ago, they created the Insights Report, a 15-page analysis of district data to offer insights into students’ academic achievement and growth. Dr. Andy Hegedus was one of the innovative NWEA researchers who created the report; we talked to him about what kind of value it provides to MAP Growth partners. Below, you can learn more about the Insights Report in our video overview, or read more of our interview with Dr. Andy Hegedus on Teach Learn Grow.
What 2-3 areas of the report do you typically emphasize when introducing it to a superintendent or an administrator?
1) The simple, straight-forward language and graphics that anyone can understand.
2) The one-page executive summary, which hits three key points – How are our kids doing? How are we doing on proficiency and college-readiness? How are we doing over time?
3) The report progresses from high-level all the way to an in-depth analysis of growth and achievement by gender and race. Superintendents told us they wanted help with the analysis of their data since we have the data expertise to do it and they typically don’t. Now we have a way to do that at scale.
How are current MAP Growth partners using the Insights Report?
They are providing the Insights Report to the school board – and to their teams – using the PowerPoint we provide as a starting point. (The report comes with a PowerPoint presentation, pdf, and an hour of consulting from NWEA.) By providing a written report in plain language, and a PowerPoint presentation, we intentionally made reporting district performance easier on administrators: We do the analysis for them. It saves them tons of time, and they can have faith in the numbers we provide. The Insights Report also provides third-party independence around the metrics. That’s important to some administrators and boards.
What was the most interesting question you got from an administrator about the data?
The most interesting question I had was from a high-performing, international school that questioned our analysis on college readiness benchmarks. Our data said that around 70% of their students were meeting college readiness benchmarks – but 100% of their graduating students attend college.
In that case, I showed the administrators their achievement percentiles by grade, and they had a bunch of early learners in the 20-30th percentiles in achievement. Now, every year, their achievement got higher, and in 10th grade, they were at the 80th percentile in achievement. So their students grew better than average, and their achievement percentile increased every year – and they left the school ready for college. But if you identified a student that would best represent the entire school, he or she would be a student somewhere in between – a student on the journey to be college ready; they weren’t all at the top, and they weren’t all at the bottom. We discussed that growth is what you keep your eye on. Growth is your leading indicator. If you keep growing students a lot, your achievement will improve over time. It’s through growth that all of the kids will become college and career ready. If growth drops for some, they might not make it.
Take a look: