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Improving Teacher Effectiveness Through Data-Driven Inquiry Cycle: A Protocol

Updated: Oct 4

Evidence-based data should drive targeted teacher support.

That requires a focused and sustainable protocol.

The protocol described below, partnered with the Teacher Effectiveness Data Inquiry Tracker, provides administrators, supervisors, and instructional leadership with a structured method for grounding coaching and professional development in individualized teacher data. The protocol provides Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) with a framework for analyzing teacher performance data, identifying patterns, and making informed decisions to better support teachers in their pedagogy and ultimately, student success.

The protocol reflects an alignment between District goals, PLC needs, and subsequent steps for teachers.

PLC Data Inquiry Protocol

Resources Needed:

  • Data collection instruments

  • Teacher evaluation rubrics or criteria (e.g. Danielson, Marzano, CUES by Mcrel)

  • Classroom Observation Trackers Look For Checklists

  • Success Criteria

  • Teacher Effectiveness Data Inquiry Tracker

Inquiry-Cycle Duration:

Ongoing process with regular PLC meetings (e.g., monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly).

Protocol Steps:

1. Ahead of the meeting

  • As a PLC, using data collection instruments exemplified above, determine the focus of the inquiry cycle. In other words, what teacher skills or strategies will be analyzed and evaluated? The focus of inquiry should align to the overarching goal of the district and PLC for the school-year. See Figure 1 above.

  • Individuals of the PLC identify the data collection instrument that will be the data-point analyzed during the PLC meeting. This data-point aligns to the focus area and reflects the case-load of the supervisors. If the data has not been collected yet, individual PLC members are responsible for collecting it before the meeting.

  • For accountability purposes, share the data collection instrument that will be analyzed in an email to the PLC as a whole.

2. During the meeting

  • As a PLC, review the overarching goal of the district and the focus of inquiry.

  • PLC members individually engage in Teacher Effectiveness Data Inquiry Tracker

  • Establish and share the number of minutes provided to complete the tracker. Set a timer.

  • Typically, the time required for completion can vary, between 25 to 45 minutes, contingent upon factors such as the data collection tool, caseload, and established meeting time.

  • Analyze teacher performance data to identify trends, strengths, and areas to provide targeted and individualized teacher support.

  • PLC members come back as a whole-group to debrief their findings, summarize key takeaways and share their next steps. This information should be documented on the PLC agenda.

  • Based on these findings, the focus of the next inquiry cycle should be established. Will the focus remain the same? Can it change?

  • Confirm the date of the next inquiry cycle.

3. After the meeting

  • PLC members engage in next steps as identified on the tracker, documenting anecdotal and observational evidence to support proceeding inquiry meetings.

  • Determine who from the PLC team will communicate inquiry-cycle findings, goals, and next steps with leadership teams and teachers to create collective responsibility for supporting growth.

4. Ongoing

  • Encourage teachers to share evidence and examples that support growth of inquiry focus.

  • Encourage teachers to commit to their goals and discuss how they will be held accountable for their progress.

  • Establish a system for follow-up and check-ins with teachers.

Supervisors can use this document with their PLCs to guide discussions and decision-making regarding teacher effectiveness. They can analyze the data collected in the tracker to identify areas of strength and areas for growth among teachers. This information can then be used to develop targeted professional development opportunities and support for teachers. Supervisors can also use the document to track trends and progress over time, allowing for ongoing reflection and adjustment of instructional practices.

The Teacher Effectiveness Tracker is a low-prep tool to assess teacher progress, adjust action plans, and provide continued feedback and support as a PLC community. The data and evidence allows for informed discussions and decisions about teacher effectiveness at the district, school, and classroom level. Ultimately, the protocol promotes a collaborative and data-driven approach to evaluating teacher effectiveness, fostering professional growth, and ultimately improving student outcomes.

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