LEADING WITH DATA
Inthe recent past, public schools in United States have establishedreform measures that are aimed at improving student`s performance.The improvement efforts demonstrate that no student should be leftbehind and hence leads to increased accountability. These efforts areof great importance to the educational standards set in America. Theyensure that the scarce school resources are used effectively tomaximize efficiency (Goldring& Berends 2011).The materials used should be simple for students to comprehend andthat conform to the educational standards. It is argued thatcompetent administrators encourage change within their organizations(Goldring& Berends 2011).The notion that no student should be behind has made the duties ofschool administrators sophisticated because they must be presentduring goals setting, professional establishment and collaboration.
Schoolsprincipals should establish a close link with parents and communitymembers who provide an enabling environment for the school survival.Public schools improvement efforts have enabled administrators toadopt the data-based decision making in an attempt to understand thecurrent and future position of their organizations (Goldring& Berends 2011).This has helped them improve accountability by scrutinizing areasneeded for improvement and allocating appropriate resources toenhance efficiency.
Thebook leading with data by Ellen Goldring and Mark Berends adopts alogical and practical approach on how data can be used to motivateand direct learning institutions for improvement. The two authorshave a vast of experience on issues related to reform efforts. Dr.Goldring is the professor of educational policy and a leader atPeabody College where she specializes on school leadership. Goldringresearch focuses on the changing roles of school leaders and the linkbetween organizations, family and society (Goldring& Berends 2011).Mark Berends is the director and professor of sociology at theresearch on Educational opportunities at Notre Dame University.Berends area of specialization is on the relationship between theschool and child performance. Goldring and Berends argue that theeducational programs should meet the requirements of the federal andeducational standards. In the book, Goldring and Berends challengeschool administrators as well as giving them a chance to review andreflect on their undertakings while using data (Goldring& Berends 2011).The book has sections each addressing different issues related todata collection for school improvement, analysis, evaluation anddecision making.
Thefirst section of the book provides the foundation of value and theimportance for using data and technology in making decisions. Itdescribes how data is used for school improvement and how competentinstitutions adopt data for overall school performance (Goldring& Berends 2011).Goldring and Berends argue that the shared objectives and mission arecentral for institution improvement. Both authors identify numerouskey indicators for school improvement. They include society andparent relationship, acceptable standards, professional community,appropriate resources and professional development. In addition, itexplains how the features of different learning institutionsinfluence the decision making process in regards to the methods andform of data to use (Goldring& Berends 2011).
Onthe second part of the book, Goldring and Berends focus on thenecessary steps for data collection in order to make decisions thatsupport both the student and institutions improvement efforts. Theauthors argue that the mission and key objectives of the schoolshould be crafted (Goldring& Berends 2011).Most of the administrators are in a dilemma as to what is the bestkind of data to use and when. Goldring and Berends address the issueby suggesting on ways of choosing the correct approach for datacollection and classification. The authors further explain on how tochoose the right data from the results. In addition, they argue thatonce the mission and vision are established, administrators shoulddecide on the best methods to collect data (Goldring& Berends 2011).
Goldringand Berends also identify formative assessment as an importantmeasure of student performance that in turn leads to schoolimprovement. Formative assessment plays an important role inmonitoring the student`s progress. Administrators use the informationto analyze issues such as school environment, structural practices inthe school and student learning among others (Goldring& Berends 2011).Both authors recommend the use of various data sources in order toarrive at a decision that helps address the obstacles to theapplication of data for formative assessment.
Thethird chapter in the book leading with data analyses the connectionsbetween professional, community development and institutionalimprovement process. Goldring and Berends analyze the strengths andweakness of having parents and community involved in the schoolimprovement process and their effects (Goldring& Berends 2011).Both authors agree that involving families and society in thedecision making process is of importance to the overall schoolimprovement. The authors outline numerous methods that can be used tocollect and evaluate data from these groups. The book explains thebenefits of these groups. In addition, the authors identify the typeof data that proves important in pinpointing the cause ofinstitutional improvement problems. In summary, this section acts asa guide on how parents and community can be active members in theschool decision making process (Goldring& Berends 2011).
Thelast section focuses on the need to make informed decisions inlearning institutions. In this step, actual strategies areimplemented to address the outcomes of data analysis. Goldring andBerends argues that the use of scientific-based research should beencourages when making decisions in order to provide evidence baseddecisions (Goldring& Berends 2011).The book leading with data is a valuable resource for institutionprincipals. It acts as a guide for administrators to developtechniques that help address student learning issues. Goldring andBerends propose that the improvement process helps reveal disturbingissues in the school as well as developing strategies that assistsolve these problems. Further, the authors recommend that the leadingwith data book guide new principals through the process and showsthem how data is applied to make informed decisions (Goldring& Berends 2011).It acts as a reference to experienced administrators whereby they areable to identify the root causes and allocate necessary resourcesthat help solve these issues.
Goldring,E. B., Berends, M., & American Association of SchoolAdministrators. (2011).Leadingwith data: Pathways to improve your school.Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.