Use of School Data-Driven Decision Making to Increase Student Achievement

Posted on Categories Accountability & Data Use, Professional Development

At a Glance

The administration, staff, and newly created school-based data team concentrated on the effective use of data-driven decision making to improve the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center’s culture of learning, specifically to increase the School Performance Profile score, improve student performance on Keystone exams, and improve the overall achievement of LCCTC graduates.


At the start of the 2013-2014 school year, Lawrence County Career and Technical Center’s (LCCTC) newly hired Director Leonard Rich conducted an extensive review of various data including the following:

  • School Report Card 
  • School Performance Profile
  • Student PSSA and Keystone performance results
  • Student NOCTI and NIMS performance results

As a result, it was determined that in order to identify the most effective instructional and procedural practices that could positively impact school and student success, administration and staff should increase their response to data. Subsequently, a systematic reform plan was developed and shared with the Joint Operating Committee and the sending school superintendents. The plan aims to meet several objectives:

  1. Increase the culture of learning to one of high expectations, accountability, and measurable achievable success.
  2. Increase the School Performance Profile score so that LCCTC is removed from Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Failing/Corrective Action rating status.
  3. Increase student performance on Keystone exams.
  4. Graduate young adults who are academically and technically ready to enter postsecondary education, training, and/or high-skill employment.

Many actions have been implemented in order to meet these objectives:

  • Chapter 339 audit results are utilized at career and technical education (CTE) improvement meetings.
  • NOCTI and NIMS pre- and post-test data contribute to CTE instructional changes.
  • The Keystone exam testing schedule has been revised in order to improve efficiency, limit student testing fatigue, and help maximize student performance.
  • The School Data Team comprehensively reviews and utilizes historical and current data to determine school and instruction needs; data points include the following:
    • School Report Card 
    • School Performance Profile
    • PSSA and Keystone exams performance
    • Industry-based competency exam performance
    • Classroom Diagnostic Tools performance
    • Study Island remediation performance
  • The Director and School Data Team use data to communicate strengths and needs to staff via faculty meetings, in-services, school global folders, and emails thereby creating greater data transparency.
  • Improvements have been made in the systematic collection and utilization of Classroom Diagnostic Tools and Study Island remediation data.
  • OnHand software has been restored as a way to support teachers and administrators in using data-driven instruction.
  • The school’s grading software has been changed to better enable teachers and administrators to obtain relevant and effective data collection.
  • To minimize the need for student remediation, data is utilized to identify under-performing students earlier.
  • Students are presented with performance data and encouraged to increase their performance through obtainable goals.
  • The calculation of student grade point average (GPA) has been implemented and a “4.0 GPA Coffee Club” is open to qualifying students.
  • Through a school phone message system and at events such as an open house, the Director is transparent with parents regarding performance growth data. Similarly, data is shared with the community through increased communication via newspaper articles, quarterly newsletters, Occupational Advisory Committee meetings, Local Advisory Committee meetings, and meetings with political and business leaders.
  • Two large wall displays entitled “Evidence That We Are Rising!” have been created to announce performance progress and motivate students and staff to reach new goals. 

Origin / Implementation

As evidenced by their School Performance Profile score and students’ Keystone exam performance, LCCTC was in need of improvement. Together with the Academic Support Teacher and the newly formed School Data Team, the Director oversaw the implementation of an improvement plan that emphasized the collection, analysis, and application of data to inform school and instructional practices and to motivate students to reach higher levels of academic achievement.

Results / Impact

  • The School Performance Profile score increased from 55.1 in 2013 to 64 in 2014, taking it out of the state’s Failing/Corrective Action range for the first time in numerous consecutive years. 
  • Students achieved significantly higher on the Keystone exams from 2012 to 2015:
    • Literature exam proficiency increased from 30.8 percent to 49.3 percent
    • Algebra exam proficiency increased from 19.8 percent to 38.7 percent
    • Biology exam proficiency increased from 9.2 percent to 32 percent
  • Students sustained outstanding NOCTI exam results and marginally improved industry–based competency assessment scores. From 2012 to 2015, NOCTI/NIMS scores increased from 82.1 percent to 91.6 percent. LCCTC’s 2015 NOCTI/NIMS scores ranked the third highest among the state’s 18 comprehensive career and technical centers.


Lawrence County Career and Technical Center

Mr. Leonard Rich, Director

Ms. Renea Young, Academic Support Instructor