Culture, Climate, and Collaborations: Working Together to Improve Student Learning

Session Number: PreK1
Track: PreK-12 Educational Evaluation
Session Type: TIG Multipaper
Session Chair: Michaele Webb [Syracuse University]
Discussant: Tom McKlin [Director - The Findings Group]
Presenter 1: Shira Solomon [Independent Evaluator - Solomon Evaluation]
Presenter 2: Jennifer Ho [UCLA]
Presenter 3: Jay Feldman [RTI International]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Jennifer Ho [UCLA]
Presentation 3 Additional Author: Jessica Robles [Senior Research Associate - RTI International]
Presentation 3 Additional Author: Nitya Venkateswaran [Senior Research Associate - RTI International]
Presentation 3 Additional Author: Jay Feldman [RTI International]
Time: Oct 27, 2016 (07:00 AM - 07:45 AM)
Room: International South 10

Abstract 1 Title: More Meaningful Methods of Measuring Family Involvement
Presentation Abstract 1:

Evaluating family involvement, like promoting it, can be challenging. Schools and supplementary educational programs such as 21st Century Community Learning Centers are typically accountable for family outcomes like participation and satisfaction. But even for these seemingly straightforward outcomes, baselines are hard to establish and as a result, growth targets may be unattainably high or artificially low. Conventional measures can lead us to overlook critical data points, misread our data, and miss opportunities for exploratory analysis and for live-time advising. In this presentation, we will share innovative strategies, tools, and analytic methods that have helped federally-funded summer and after-school programs to accurately measure, depict, and promote family involvement.   

Abstract 2 Title: Data Driven Decision-Making in Schools: Cultures of Learning and Accountability
Presentation Abstract 2:

This mixed methods study conducted in three public high schools explores the use of data in school-based decision-making as a process of cultural development. Findings suggest that meaningful data use requires an ongoing conversation amongst teachers, principals, District administration, parents and students. In this constant dialogue, stakeholders tacitly and explicitly negotiate what data are used in measuring school performance, how data are collected and analyzed in ways that maintain validity and credibility, and how data can meaningfully inform programmatic and instructional improvements. Data use routines thus intended to influence decision-making become iterative cycles of establishment, revision, and refinement in the cultural-political context of schools. Tensions explored in the determination of what, and how data are used for school-based decision-making include whether data can be used for both instructional improvements and school accountability, and the ways in which data influence the balance of teacher autonomy and mutual accountability within schools.

Abstract 3 Title: Best practices in Collective Impact: A model for partnerships between community based organization, schools, and school districts
Presentation Abstract 3:

The authors describe a study of community based organizations (CBOs) and schools and school districts that are developing partnerships under a collective impact agenda with a goal of raising student academic achievement and preparing students with 21st century skills. This paper addresses what practices make these collaborations successful and what role each actor (i.e. school, central office, CBO) plays. We describe the challenges of collecting data from CBOs and share lessons learned.  We highlight specific areas of evaluation focus that we believe are necessary in evaluating these partnerships. Here we focus particularly on the power dynamics that occur among partnerships between schools and community based organizations, particularly small CBOs that are ethnically or culturally based and serve historically oppressed communities. Finally, we share our approach to helping participants build collective understanding by describing our feedback process, which included facilitating sense-making sessions with school and community members based on our findings.


Audience Level: None

Session Abstract:  Culture, Climate, and Collaborations: Working Together to Improve Student Learning