How do we make good, sound decisions regarding how to improve student learning? We make observations…and then we ask, “Why?”
But asking “why” isn’t enough. Even answering “why” isn’t enough. Answering the “why” based on reasoning, evidence, and information provided from data is what we need to do. In my previous experience at districts, we made decisions based on things we assumed to be true without digging down into data we already had. This meant we weren’t really identifying the root causes, so we weren’t matching our solutions to the actual problems that were occurring. And I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but when your solution doesn’t match your problem…you don’t actually solve anything.
What I see right now in our schools is more data about student learning readily available for our teachers. And when teachers observe an issue and ask “why,” they have better information to dig down to that root cause. In other words, we have the ability to make decisions based on what’s really happening with students rather than on assumptions that may or may not be true.