[Assessment 1485] Re: Using Data: Getting Staff Buy-In

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Cathay Reta cathayreta at sbcglobal.net
Mon Dec 8 16:54:58 EST 2008


Jackie,
 
You bring up a key issue which is a thread running through our three modules of the Performance Accountability training -- staff turnover.  When staff is part-time and underpaid, as you point out, it is a challenge to make the changes we would like to; it seems to be burdensome to add more work for them.  And then they are often not around long enough to really build their experience base within an organization.  A few of our model programs have made concerted effort to hire full time staff. 
 
Even so, programs have made great strides forward with involving staff in data collection and analysis and it is especially successful when the data is meaningful, when it helps instructors to see how they can improve their work, as you described.  They may initially be brought into the process "because they are required to," but as they see "the power of data" then they truly buy-in to it.   It is important for programs to frame data discussions in such a way that instructors will see it is to support them -- not punish them. 
 
Cathay

Cathay O. Reta
Cornerstone Concepts
6670 Southside Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90022
Ph: 323) 728-4302
cathayreta at sbcglobal.net

--- On Mon, 12/8/08, Sandy Strunk <sandy_strunk at IU13.org> wrote:

From: Sandy Strunk <sandy_strunk at IU13.org>
Subject: [Assessment 1478] Re: Using Data: Getting Staff Buy-In
To: "The Assessment Discussion List" <assessment at nifl.gov>
Date: Monday, December 8, 2008, 11:02 AM

My experience has been that teachers are sometimes reluctant to use data because
it seems so far removed from their day-to-day routines. We started by just
feeding back to our teachers the information they had given us about their
learners (test scores, attendance, goal attainment, progress, etc.). The first
reaction was often "this isn't accurate" -- creating an
opportunity for us to talk about the importance of validating data.

Once our data because more accurate, we began giving teachers their individual
class information as well as the mean information for our program. This allowed
teachers to compare their attendance, goal attainment, and learner gains to the
average for our program. That led to many questions about why performance varied
so much from class to class and fostered many opportunities for sharing best
practices.

Finally, we asked our teachers to use their data to do written progress reports
for our learners three times a year (we paid teachers for this time). We
generated learner progress monitoring reports from our database, printed them
with labels for teachers, and teachers added comments and observations prior to
mailing each individual report. This not only made the data more useful for
teachers, but it also engaged our learners with their individual data and
underscored the correlation between regular attendance and learning gains.

I will also say that whether you're a teacher, student or administrator,
looking at your own performance data is a humbling experience. A key for me has
been to describe, not judge, and to talk about what I can do to try and change
the data -- rather than assign blame because the data is not what I want it to
be.

I also like the idea of having teachers generate their own inquiries and we try
to support those inquiries through our professional development system.
Unfortunately, as Jackie noted, part-time staff are often already stretched, so
there's a limit on what they're able to take on in addition to their
teaching.

Sandra J. Strunk
Program Director for Community Education
Lancaster Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13
1020 New Holland Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17601
(717) 606-1873
(717) 606-1705 - fax

Service, support...solutions

-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On
Behalf Of Jackie Coelho
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 12:47 PM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1475] Re: Using Data: Getting Staff Buy-In

At the risk of sounding snarky....which I sincerely do NOT intend, I
think that most ABE teachers are underpaid and would see using data as
worthwhile if they were not already doing so much for so little. If
data will lead to a better program, will it also lead to a better
salary?

Also, I think it is only fair to point out that data cannot
necessarily inform all decisions. The target population is a moving
target, groups come and go and what holds true for one group may not
apply to another.

After all that, perhaps having instructors use their own data, from
experiments they themselves have developed and conducted, may help get
buy-in. What do they need? What do they want to know? How can they
find out? What can they do with the information. If people are not
used to dealing with data, then perhaps they need to see the power of
the data first. Then they may feel more comfortable looking at data
from an outside source.

Just some thoughts from a practioner.

On 12/8/08, Marie Cora <marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com> wrote:

>

>

>

> A subscriber sent:

>

> How do you get staff to buy-in to a bigger focus on using data? My staff

> really see this as an extra layer of effort and work at this point.

It's

> hard to get them to see that some initial work on this will eventually

lead

> to better teaching and programming. Thanks.

>

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