In Part 1 of this series, we explained that educators and students realize the true value of performance management when evaluations contribute to a culture of continuous improvement that ultimately advances student achievement … and that means collecting and analyzing meaningful performance data to empower decision-making.
“Education has really moved into this space where we’re going to see rapid changes because of the data and technology that are available to everyone,” said Nick Montgomery, chief research officer at TalentEd. “Data analysis provides new opportunities to ensure every single educator receives the support they need, and the staff who support those educators are able to facilitate and encourage growth.”
Choosing technology and evaluation methods that can simplify and analyze the huge amounts of performance data schools collect, and turn it into actionable information — not simply summary reports — is key to realizing performance management goals, and ensuring administrators don’t experience data overload.
“In our profession, we tend to have tons and tons of data. Keep the data focused on just a few data sets that offer information on how to contribute to employee performance, school or district outcomes, and most importantly, student achievement,” said Tony Davis, Ph.D., project consultant for McREL International and 28-year veteran education who held roles as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and K-12 human resources administrator. “When we use technology in a more sophisticated way with a few very succinct data points, then we can make much better decisions about resource allocation and targeted professional learning.”
Lisa Andrejko, Ed.D., strategic education advisor at TalentEd and former teacher, principal, director of technology and superintendent, agreed. During her time as a superintendent, her district focused on 10 core competencies — including assessment, instruction and student engagement — based on their ability to impact student learning.
“We stayed focused on what was going to move the needle, instead of trying to look at everything,” she said. “Some measures just don’t have the same impact. You can’t equate how nice a teacher’s bulletin board looks to how well their students are performing. It’s just apples to oranges.”
With district priorities identified, collecting and analyzing the most impactful data is the next step. At Comal Independent School District in Texas, TalentEd Perform — the K-12 education-specific performance management solution — empowers district leaders to easily view and analyze the data sets that are most important to them.
“That’s what’s really good about Perform: The data it provides,” said Jacqueline Sundt, principal at Specht Elementary School, one of 27 schools in Comal ISD. “You can see your campus as a whole in kind of a snap shot, and then you can drill it down to the individual person and open up that data, as well.”
After reviewing performance data against district priorities, school and district leaders must then determine which professional development activities would most improve performance at the district, school and individual level.
“Imagine going to a doctor that diagnoses you and then just walks away. It’s critical to identify what your issue is, but you also have to treat it,” Lisa said. “Performance management is no different. We’re here to support the teachers, to help them grow.”
Read Part 3 for information on how performance data can help you identify professional development priorities.