Skip to main content


       DATA – one might be hard-pressed to find a more overused word in education during the last 15 or so years.  Right?

     Traditionally over the last 15 years, this buzzword has been hotly associated with the high stakes-testing environment and was primarily referring to how students did on a variety of standardized tests. 

      Sometimes, we also collected and evaluated data related to grades, GPA’s, graduation rates, dropouts, attendance and more.

      But as education works to become more relevant, I think the time has come to collect and analyze data that could be much more meaningful and applicable to all stakeholders including students.

    Here are a few examples of the type of data that we begin gathering in this new paradigm:

·       Student Survey Data on everything from teacher support, course satisfaction and engagement, course ideas, project ideas, instructional practices, school safety, technology and more.  We need better and more feedback from students about their learning experiences.  This should lead to more student buy-in and better student experiences.  Educators need to use student input to adapt and adjust their programs.

·       New Performance-Based Goals - To what level students are meeting or mastering a performance-based rubric related to their personal and professional goals (how often presenting publicly, publishing, etc.) should be a big part of the new data directive.

·       Students’ Digital Footprint – this will include, but not be limited to social media profiles and activity (both positive and negative), professional web presence (each student will have their own website and have to meet a grade level standard of published work, projects, etc.) and more.

·       Participation in co-curricular and extra-curricular events – to some degree this is not brand new.  However, we need to document more than just sports, clubs and school activities.  We need to now include things like off campus service, part-time work, involvement in professional organizations, entrepreneurial activities and more.

·       Mentoring – In addition to every student having a staff or faculty mentor, every student needs to have at least one professional or off campus mentor.  This should be related to their interest and career areas and could be e-mentors as well.  I know, I know, I know – there will be lots of concerns about legalities and policies.  Well, let’s not allow that to stop us from providing what all students need and deserve.  All should have a variety of mentors and we should document data related to the meetings, opportunities, and collaborative interactions between students and mentors.  We need to connect students to people who are doing what they are interested in and can support their Personal Learning Network.

·       Contests and Competitive Events – again, this has traditionally been limited to sports, performing arts, FFA, etc.  These are great, but we should expect and require all students to compete professionally in the real world.  These can be on-line contests, local and regional competitions or more.  All students should be sharing their best work in their areas of interest and getting feedback through competition.  And again, this would be data that would be gathered and analyzed.

·       Technology, Tools and Resources – many students become very adept and talented at a variety of tech tools and applications, as well as even traditional tools.  Not only is this important, but necessary.  We should encourage master of tools and applications and then document these professional proficiencies like we do with adults. 

       As usual, this is not the end, but only the beginning.   I’m sure all of you could add to this new Data Dashboard.  So, data should be collected, analyzed and used to inform education, but not in the limited ways we have traditionally done.

(photos courtesy of Foter, FFA, Tulare County Office of Education, Minarets High School)


Popular posts from this blog

Five Ways To Make All Students Into Lead Learners (Teachers)

It has been established long ago that the highest form of learning is teaching. When one is put in the position to teach others, one learns the content and concepts at the highest applied level in order to successfully communicate it to others.
     This reality has led many educators long ago to turn as much of the instruction in their classroom over to students through student presentations, projects and more.
     That being said, too many students still never have this opportunity to become Lead Learners - where they learn at the highest level by having the responsibility of teaching others. Here are five ways all educators can expand the opportunity for all students to learn at the highest level by all becoming teachers:

STUDENTS AS PROFESSIONAL PRESENTERS      Again, students have been giving presentations in many cases for years in certain courses. I suppose even the early years of Show & Tell were intended to have every student present, or tell a story. Well, we need to ch…

8 Lessons From The FFA For All Of Education

I was never an Agriculture or FFA student. Indeed, I have never been an Ag or FFA teacher. I have never taken an Ag Science or Ag Elective class. Actually, aside from eating food produced by the Ag industry, I’ve never even done much of anything related to the work that the Ag Community does.
     However, as the former principal of Minarets High School, I got to witness and be a part of the great work that the FFA does, and has always done, that we can all learn from.
     In fact, it seems that much of what we are trying to do with 21st century education and skill development, the FFA has always done. When it comes to what industry and the economy seems to be demanding from our students, the FFA has seemingly incorporated all of it from day one.
     When I became the principal of Minarets High School (Minarets High School) in 2008, the school did not exist yet. We were tasked, among other things, with having a dynamic Ag Science & Natural Resources Pathway. With that in m…

If We're Banning Phones, We Won't Connect Our Students To The Future

For those of us that follow the news, especially education news, we don’t have to wait very long for an educator, or educators, to give us the excuse for a blog post. This week’s winner goes to the principal and staff at Korematsu Middle School in California’s East Bay Area.
     They were recently featured, and apparently heralded, by an article in Ed Source ( for their recent compliance and control upgrade that bans students from using their cell phones at lunch and during their free time.
     According to principal Matthew Burnham, they tried to let the 7th and 8th grade students use their cell phones last year during these times and it was, according to them, an abysmal failure. The school claims that due to the students being “glued” to their cell phones, no one was talking and interacting with one another. And after watching the movie “Screenagers” and drinking from that proverbial firehose of biased information, this school was trying to …