By Edie Holcomb.
From the Essentials for Principals series comes the third edition of Edie L. Holcomb's Data-Based Decision Making. In this new edition, Dr. Holcomb helps principals become more knowledgeable about data use. Readers will understand how to use data themselves as well as how to support data use within their school as one of their leadership responsibilities. She advocates for deep examination of data that goes below the surface level and for using data in constructing conditions that lead to a healthy school culture.
This book introduces a framework of three questions to investigate and eliminate the obstacles that stand in the way of effective data use: (1) What data are you looking for? (2) How will you find the data? and (3) How will you use the data? Through consideration of these questions, elementary school principals can emulate best practices, reach struggling learners, strengthen instruction, and reexamine their own role as school leader.
Chapter 1 reviews the types of data available and the characteristics of effective data use. It also describes the role and relationships of the principal. Chapter 2 encourages principals to create a data-friendly climate for improvement. In offering opportunities for rebuilding school culture, this chapter specifically examines the implementation of school-improvement and data teams. Using the three recurring foundational questions, Chapter 3 unpacks the six components of data use: (1) assembling the data, (2) analyzing current status of student learning and school factors, (3) assessing current efforts, (4) determining next steps, (5) ensuring implementation, and (6) documenting results. Chapter 4 addresses data use to support struggling learners. This chapter includes strategies on how to focus on, enhance, and assess skill-based learning within specific disciplines. It also considers the use of data in implementing differentiated instruction and schoolwide response to intervention (RTI) programs. Chapter 5 considers more deeply the principal's relationship with classroom teachers and the way in which the principal might be a supportive and effective presence at the classroom level. It provides strategies for teacher support through evaluation, observation, and analysis—of and with teachers—and suggests ways to offer constructive feedback and professional development. Chapter 6 concludes by inviting principals to assess their own performance and identify opportunities for leadership planning and growth.