CSF 2: Use of Quality Data to Drive Instruction

The use of quality data to drive instructional decisions can lead to improved student performance (Wayman, 2005); (Wayman, Cho, & Johnston,2007); (Wohlstetter, Datnow, & Park, 2008). This Critical Success Factor emphasizes effective uses of multiple sources of disaggregated data. However, it is not necessarily the amount of data utilized, but rather how the information is used (Hamilton, et al., 2009). For example, academic achievement can improve when teachers create regular opportunities to share data with individual students (Black & Williams, 2005). Therefore, it is not only the use of data with others that provides the greatest opportunity for data to have a positive impact on student learning outcomes.

Supporting Components

Key strategies establish the foundation for each Critical Success Factor. The activities supporting each CSF must be thoughtfully developed by stakeholders to ensure each campus initiative is successful. The strategies noted here, when implemented correctly, can support the development of each Critical Success Factor. While the following is not a definitive list, the evidence-based components provided here are proven to show a high rate of success.

  • Data Disaggregation
  • Data-driven Decisions
  • On-going Communication

ESEA Turnaround Principle: Using data
Using data to inform instruction and for continuous improvement, including by providing time for collaboration on the use of data;


Web Pages


  • IES Practice Guide: Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making
    The goal of this practice guide is to formulate specific and coherent evidence-based recommendations for use by educators and education administrators to create the organizational conditions necessary to make decisions using student achievement data in classrooms, schools, and districts.
  • NAESP: Better Practices for Better Schools
    This online publications series developed by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, is intended to strengthen the effectiveness of elementary and middle-level principals by providing information and insight about research-based practices and by offering guidance for implementing them in schools.
  • SEDL: Using Formative Assessment to Improve Student Achievement in the Core Content Areas
    Since 2001, federal laws such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 have made raising student achievement standards the center of our national conversation. Consequently, educators have increasingly turned their attention to exploring the potential of formative assessments as one approach to increasing student outcomes (Black & William, 1998) in order to meet federal and state accountability requirements. This briefing paper addresses topics related to formative assessments.
  • SEDL: Using Data to Guide Instruction and Improve Student Learning
    SEDL staff provided training during which district staff from all content areas learned how to properly implement research-based literacy instructional strategies. In addition, SEDL staff regularly participated in teacher planning meetings and observed classroom instruction to assess the effectiveness of the literacy strategies and provide feedback for improvement.


  • Data Analysis for Continuous School Improvement by Victoria L. Bernhardt, PhD.
  • The Data Coach’s Guide to Improve Learning for All Student’s by Nancy Love, Katherine E. Stiles, Susan Mundry, and Kathryn, DiRanna
  • Data-Driven Dialogue, 2nd Edition by Bruce Wellman and Laura Lipton