Teacher Evaluation: WHY It Matters and HOW We Can Do Better
An in-depth look...
Student data tells a story. When schools administer building-wide academic screeners, screening data has the remarkable power to predict which students are at serious risk of academic failure and need targeted RTI and MTSS interventions.
At Tiers 2 and 3, the Data Analysis Team (DAT) is the building-level group that interprets this data ‘story’ — they analyze screening information to discover and place students requiring more intensive academic support. The role of the DAT is to use data to oversee entry and exit of students across Tiers 2 and 3.
The DAT meets after each of 3 school-wide academic screenings that take place in fall, winter and spring. Each time they meet, the DATs tasks are to:
DAT members should also set goals for academic performance, and apply decision-rules to evaluate student progress. These critical functions will be topics of future posts as the school year continues.
The DAT is typically a multi-disciplinary building-level team. While there is no minimum or maximum number of team members, the team should collectively:
(Adapted from Kovaleski et al., 2013; Kovaleski & Pedersen, 2008).
True to its name, the primary mission of the Data Analysis Team is to analyze and respond to student academic data. In preparation for the DATs work, the school identifies an appropriate range of screening tools and other data sources capable of accurately assessing student basic academic skills and/or curriculum skills.
The school chooses an appropriate range of screening tools to accurately assess student basic academic and/or curriculum skills. For each screening tool, the school establishes ‘cut-points’ — score ranges that allow students to be sorted and placed in categories according to their level of risk for academic failure. Those categories may include:
Tier 1: Core Instruction: Low Risk: No intervention is needed.
Tier 1: Classroom Intervention. Emerging Risk: A classroom intervention plan is sufficient.
Tier 2: Supplemental Intervention: Some Risk: The student requires intervention beyond core instruction to remediate off-level academic skill gaps. Tier 2 groups are limited to 7 students and meet at least 3 times per week for 30 minutes.
Tier 3: Intensive Intervention. At Risk: The student requires the most intensive level of intervention support matched to their unique skill deficits. Tier 3 groups are limited to 2-3 students and meet daily for 30 minutes or more.
The school can select additional data sources (e.g., state test scores; teacher nomination) for identifying students needing intervention support. When possible, cut-points are established for these additional data sources (e.g., organizing raw scores into cut-points on a state reading test to correspond with Tiers of intervention).
The school weights (in descending order of importance) are measures to be used to make intervention placements, with the most reliable, diagnostic sources appearing in first position.
When a student’s data shows an inconsistent profile (e.g., with some sources indicating a need for intervention and others suggesting that the student is low-risk), the school assigns greater weight to the more ‘trustworthy’ data sources to help to resolve the uncertainty.
With your school-wide academic screening system in place, the DAT is ready to make data-based decisions about who is to receive Tier 2/3 intervention services. The DAT meets after fall, winter and spring building-wide screenings to update the roster of students eligible for supplemental interventions. Here are the general stages of DAT preparation and meetings that unfold after each screening:
The DAT is essential to the smooth functioning of RTI and MTSS for academics. Its responsibilities are great — to manage Tier 2/3 entry and exit for the school’s most at-risk students. Therefore, the DAT is most likely to serve as an effective ‘decision point’ for routing students to appropriate academic services when it can depend on reliable screening data and follow a structured problem-solving meeting agenda.
Does your organization have a scalable workflow that supports high-quality data capture and analysis for struggling learners? Take a look at how Frontline’s RTI & MTSS Program Management software can help you identify and support each student.
1. Kovaleski, J. F., VanDerHeyden, A. M., & Shapiro, E. S. (2013). The RTI approach to evaluating learning disabilities. New York: Guilford Press.
2. Kovaleski, J. F., & Pedersen, J. (2008). Best practices in data analysis teaming. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology, V. Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.