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Data can be defined as a fixed starting point of a scale or operation - a piece of information or an assumption from which inferences may be drawn.  I especially like this definition in view of the fact that we certainly generate a lot of data in the classrooms of APS!  We are moving towards using these pieces of information as the starting point to make sound educational decisions to shape our instruction and, consequently, our students' learning.  Two types of data, program and cohort, give us information configured in different ways to help us better understand our students' performance.

Program data measures the effectiveness of programs over multiple years and focuses on the same grade level over multiple years, not on the same students.  For example, students' performance on the NeSA-W (Nebraska State Assessment - Writing) is measured for each 4th, 8th and 11th grade student every year.  This is the type of data that is displayed on the State of the Schools Report.

Cohort data represents a monitoring of one group of students over time.   For example, cohort data can effectively be used to track student performance on the NRT's (Norm-Referenced Tests) from grade to the next grade over multiple years.

An effective educational program utilizes both types of data.  At APS, our School Improvement Program is redesigning their plans to include both at all buildings and levels.
Last Updated: 6/30/09

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