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Getting Excited About Data

Getting Excited About Data
Combining People, Passion, and Proof to Maximize Student Achievement

Second Edition

Foreword by Tony Wagner

April 2004 | 272 pages | Corwin
The aim of this book is best captured by its subtitle, Combining People, Passion and Proof to Increase Student Achievement. The book explains how the goal in collecting more data should be to increase student success, not to be "a more research-based, data-driven school." The book focuses on the human elements, such as hopes and fears, prior knowledge, and current needs. Getting Excited About Data, Second Edition, strives to create active engagement with interaction with peers and data with the purpose of building a more collaborative culture and a shared sense of collective responsibility for all students' learning.
Tony Wagner
What This Book Is Not

What This Book Is

How This Book Is Organized


About the Author
1. Using Data for Alignment and Achievement
Alignment Between Mission and the School Portfolio

Alignment Between Mission, Portfolio and Concerns

Alignment Between Concerns and Priorities

Alignment Among Priorities, Study, and Strategies

Alignment Between Priorities, Strategies, and Evidence

Alignment Betwee Strategies, Evidence, and Action Plans

Consolidating Multiple and Existing Plans

Using Data for Alignment and Achievement

Two Schools Implement a Major Change

Two A's and Three Powerful P's

Making It Public

On the Road Again

2. Understanding the Importance of Proof
My Data Roots

Data to Close the Achievement Gap

Use of Data Highlighted in National Research Reports

Data Work in High-Performing Schools

Data - Essential, but Not Sufficient

3. Coping With the Barriers to Data Use
Reasons for Reluctance to Use Data

Assessing Data Readiness

Responding to Concerns

4. Engaging the People
Internal and External Engagement

The Cultural Problem

Creating the Culture of Collective Responsibility

Finding Time

Making It Public

5. Arousing the Passion
The Motivation Continuum

Swapping Stories

Language, Humor, and Music

Monitoring Our Mission

6. Starting With the Significant
Data > Test Scores

State and Federal Mandates

The Blue Ribbon Approach

Of Local Significance

No Snapshots, Please

Finding the Starting Point

The Snowball Approach

7. Displaying the Data

User-Friendly Data Displays

Displaying Longitudinal Data

Color Coding Proficiency

The No-Numbers Approach

Displaying Perceptual Data

The Whole Portfolio

Making It Public

The Acid Test

8. Interpreting the Results
Carousel Data Analysis

Listening In

Using the Responses

Making It Public

9. Designing a Data Day


District Session

School-Based Activities


Making It Public

10. Establishing Priorities
Getting It Out and Narrowing It Down

Wordsmithing Works

The Ends or the Means

Mandates and Motivation in Goal Setting

11. Drilling Down the Priority Data
Planning Forward With Student-Specific Data

Planning Backward With Skill-Specific Data

Ramping Up the Roster

Slicing the Pie

Attacking Anonymity

Checking Out Perceptions
Making It Public - Not

12. Looking Around and Looking Within
Examining Research

Exploring Best Practice

Probing Our Practice

Capturing Our Culture

13. Clarifying District, School, and Classroom Roles
Going in Circles

Going With the Flow

Cycling in Synch

Delivering the Data

Coordinating the Common

14. Planning Your Work and Working Your Plan
Developing Action Plans

Evidence of Implementation

Evidence of Impact

Reaping Unexpected Benefits

Making It Public

15. Sustaining the Struggle
Analyzing Implementation

Integrating Programs and Practices

Saying No


Spreading a Little Cheer

16. Leading with Relentless Resilience

Relentless Resilience



"It was a pleasure to read Getting Excited About Data. I found it precise and on target for enabling school personnel to effectively use their schools' data to plan improvement."

Theodore Creighton, Executive Director
National Council of Professors of Educational Administration

"The book is written in friendly language and is a quick read with many examples. The diagrams and sample questions throughout are very useful."

Jill Hudson, Principal
Madison Middle School, Seattle, WA

"Holcomb's enlightening revision gives educators a useful, fun-to-read resource full of strategies, tools, and techniques for focusing on data. Presented with tales of real-life experiences, this book gives the reader a ‘ready-to-use’ approach that is refreshingly practical."

Debbie McDonald, Kentucky State Director
Appalachian Education Lab

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ISBN: 9780761939597