There are many ways to do this! The essence of the activity is that the team has a chance to see the data and formulate what they believe are strengths and challenges.
How Much Time Is Needed?
Approximately 2–3 hours.
How The Activity Works
- Data in four categories is prepared for staff member groups to review at four different stations.
- Each group should not have more than eight people. If your team is collectively more than about 32 persons, the data “stations” should be duplicated, i.e., two stations for each of the four types of data. Important: Mix up the groups of team members, so they have the benefit of various perspectives as they consider the data.
- Each group considers the data and writes narrative statements. After approximately 15 minutes, the group looks at a new type of data.
How To Present The Data
The packet method – One packet per data type (achievement, perception, contextual, and demographic) placed at each table.
Direct staff members to review the data individually in their small groups. After each person has considered all data, the group discusses strengths and concerns and the recorder writes these key points on two different sheets. At the end of the rotation, the sheets are collected and the group rotates to the next data station (or the data is rotated). This process continues so that each group looks at all types of data.
The large chart method – Data displayed on walls and tables. All data is enlarged so that it is easier to digest and understand. An advantage of this method is that it makes it easier to have conversations about the data.
Explaining The Activity
- Each group will consider all the data at a station and information that has been collected for each area. A different type of data is displayed at each station.
- Each group should choose a recorder and a facilitator who will keep you on track.
- The task is to look at all the data sets at the station.
- As a whole group, generate a brief narrative statement about each set of data using the Narrative Tally Sheets. Narrative statements should be simple, communicate a single idea about student performance and be non-evaluative. See Three Tips for Writing Powerful Narrative Statements.
- After 20 minutes, each group moves on to the next station, first reading what the other group wrote, then creating new and/or modified statements the group agrees on. Groups will have 15 minutes at the second, third, and fourth tables.
Very important! The group should not spend time during this exercise generating solutions or having conversations about how to fix the concerns – this comes later.
Determining Whether Narrative Statements/Key Findings Are Strengths, Challanges, Or Both
When the last rotation is finished, a member of the team should collect the narrative statements for each data category while others take a break, eliminate redundant statements and prepare them for presentation to the team for the next exercise – determining strengths and challenges.
When the team regathers, the statements are displayed on an overhead or LCD projector. The whole group agrees on the most accurate statements and then decides if each statement is a strength or a challenge (it may be both!).
Adapted from “Figuring Out What it Means.” Holcomb, E.L. (1999) Getting Excited About Data: How to Combine People, Passion, and Proof. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.