Doing What Works: Another Example of a High School Using Data to Improve Instruction

The U.S. Department of Education’s Doing What Works Web site has a wealth of information on high schools that have put practices designated as “working” into place. This blog describes one of the schools featured on the site. MacArthur Ninth Grade School is located outside of Houston, TX in the Aldine Independent School District. The school enrolls a majority of Hispanic students (83%) and students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (79%). MacArthur Ninth Grade School uses student achievement data to support instructional decision making through such activities as:
  • Embedding data use into the school's mission and vision
  • Engaging in a three-week and six-week assessment cycle
  • Using data to develop curriculum and key areas of focus for instruction
  • Implementing tools for students that provide clear expectations and grading criteria for all core classes
  • Accessing and analyzing data from the district-wide data warehouse system
MacArthur Ninth Grade School administrators work closely with teachers, support staff, and the testing coordinator to ensure student data are examined thoughtfully. Teachers and the skills specialists regularly revisit and refine lesson design and instructional strategies based on student data. Teachers provide clear expectations for all class assignments to ensure students clearly understand the expectations. Rubrics are used to assess the products, and students also monitor their own data and set learning goals after each six-week benchmark assessment. The Doing What Works Web site has sample materials, slides shows, and other resources on data-driven decision making from MacArthur Ninth Grade High School and other high schools.

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