[Assessment 1487] Re: Using Data: Where to Start?

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Marie Cora marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com
Mon Dec 8 18:20:57 EST 2008

Hi Debbie and Tina,

I completely agree: it's not often that you just want to start with a pile
of data. Debbie's idea of identifying a "burning question" is a perfect
hook to go digging around for what data will tell you more about what you
want to know.

Occasionally, programs do just start with some of their data, although
almost always there is a particular focus. So for example, a program that
is really trying hard to consistently and accurately keep records of
attendance may wish to review the data on a monthly basis. They might be
reviewing the data to check accuracy - but then they suddenly note that
attendance is slipping for a particular age group - and so they investigate
further to see what the real story is.

If you end up taking the Module 1 online course on Data Collection and
Management (see Resources of Interest in the announcement), it discusses the
various ways that data can inform, confirm, or dispute perceptions.

Debbie - you asked about sources of assessment surveys - and I do not have a
particular source. We have developed 2 program self assessments for the
initiative - one on Data Collection and Management, and one on Data Analysis
for Program Decision-Making (both of which can be found at the announcement
URL); in addition, we are now developing a program self assessment for the
upcoming Module Communicating Success to Stakeholders. I will share this
last one with you all when it's ready.

Tina shared a good resource - the program assessment from the Leadership
Excellence Academy - Tina, is that resource free/available to the public?

Others: do you know of program assessments that you can share with the List?
I can compile the suggestions and make them available to everyone.

Thanks, marie

-----Original Message-----
From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On
Behalf Of Tinajero, Debbie
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 1:59 PM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1477] Re: Using Data: Where to Start?

I agree with this, Tina. Using data for data's sake is not a way to start.
You have to have a specific idea of what you want to know before you dig in.
Ask your staff what their biggest burning question is. If they have
different ideas, prioritize them together and then start looking for all the
different kinds of places where you might find data to help you find the
answer. State database? Your program's data? Attendance records?

Marie - do you have a quick access source for different kinds of surveys?

Debbie Tinajero

Pima County Adult Probation LEARN

Tucson, AZ


From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On
Behalf Of Luffman, Tina, Ellen
Sent: December 8, 2008 11:19 AM
To: The Assessment Discussion List
Subject: [Assessment 1476] Re: Using Data: Where to Start?

Hi Marie,

I recently went through the Leadership Excellence Academy with Kathi Polis
and Lennox McClendon, and we started with various self-assessment options.
The academy felt that beginning with assessing the felt needs of the
students, teachers, administrators, and stakeholders was a great way to
determine what else needed to be done in our program. Then we used these
self-assessments to decide what data we needed to review for purposes of
program improvement. I am not sure if this is what you were looking for, but
this is what came to mind.




From: assessment-bounces at nifl.gov [assessment-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of
Marie Cora [marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com]
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 6:50 AM
To: 'The Assessment Discussion List'
Subject: [Assessment 1474] Using Data: Where to Start?

A subscriber sent:

We would like to have more of a focus on data in our program, but it's so
difficult to know where to start - we could work on so many different
aspects of the program. Does the panel have recommendations of what to
tackle first, second, etc? Or recommendations on how to decide what to do

Marie Cora, Moderator

Assessment Discussion List

National Institute for Literacy

Email me at: marie.cora at hotspurpartners.com

Subscribe at: http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/assessment

Coordinator of Assessment

Program Planning Resource Collection

National Institute for Literacy

Visit at:

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