Data as an Instructional Coach Part 1 - What Data Do I Track as an Instructional Coach?

A big part of being an effective instructional coach is using data driven information to help your help teachers do more for their students. While data can be your best friend in the classroom, it can be hard to know exactly what kind of data you need to be tracking. Between teachers and students, there is so much to observe. In addition to knowing what to track, it can be difficult to find a way to track your data effectively. So how can we ensure we are tracking the right data?

Follow the tips and hints below for super data tracking!

 
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Teacher Data

Keeping track of your teachers’ progress is data that you should track for your records especially if you have the same teachers year after year. When you first meet your teachers, you’ll set up a goal and the steps that need to happen in order to achieve that goal. After each observation, you should look at the teachers steps and write down anything that happened to get closer to moving up the ladder towards the overall goal.

Tracking when the teacher masters each step and then, of course, the overall goal, is important. You would write down when the goal was achieved and evidence it was achieved. You can track this data on a simple teacher coach goal sheet that you keep with their observation sheets.

Student Data

One of the biggest pieces of data you will be able to utilize as an instructional coach is student data. This is often where your teacher goals come from. You can find where students need the most help by looking at one of the following:

  • Standardized Tests/State Tests

  • Student Observation  

If you are using standardized tests or states tests, you will want to look for specific content areas that need to be built upon.

Once you identify the focus area, you’ll want to make a pretest, find resources to give the teacher to help teach that skill, then, after a sufficient amount of time, you’ll be able to give the students a post test and hopefully see growth. Between the pre-test and the post-test, there should be formal and informal assessments that will show whether students are progressing or not.

When using standardized testing, you would be focusing on the students’ academic success. The data you will track includes:

  • The scores of the pre-test

  • Information about growth in between

  • Strategies that are effective

  • Strategies that aren’t effective

  • The scores of the post-test

You should track all of the physical numbers (the testing data) as well as the strategies and techniques that worked for the students. You can keep track of this data with a corrective action plan and keep it with your observation notes.

If you decide to base your goal off of student observation, you can focus your instructional coaching on either academics or behavior.

You can always observe areas where students seem to struggle. When you see struggling “cues” you can write them down and then make a goal with the teacher. Then you would follow the same steps as before.

  • Set a goal with the teacher

  • Give a pre-test

  • Give formal and informal assessments during instruction

  • Give post-test

After taking the above steps, you’ll track the same type of data you did before.

Sometimes what you are coaching isn’t how to teach an academic concept. You may find yourself coaching a teacher on classroom management. This can be especially true for new teachers. Whenever people are new to something it takes them time to get adjusted to it and you’re there to help them adjust.

When you decide to set a behavioral goal with the teacher, you follow a similar process as you did with academics. You want to make sure write down the overall goal with the teacher. Next you’ll want to find the teacher resources to help the teacher with different strategies to achieve their goal. 

Finally, you work with the teacher and observe how these strategies are working in the classroom. You can keep track of this data by noting student behavior and the overall “fluency” of the classroom. If the classroom is running smoother, the strategies are working.

Keeping data as instructional coach is vital to your success and the success of the teacher. You want to ensure you have clear goals so you have accurate data. As instructional coach you’ll want to keep data for your teachers, you’ll also want to track student success data. Doing both ensures you are helping your teacher help their teachers all year long.

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How do you currently track data for your work as an Instructional Coach?

Choosing Your Instructional Coaching Model

Instructional coaching is an art; just like every type of art, there are several different models you can use to be effective. While there are several different models of arts, it is important you find the right type for the occasion. This holds true for instructional coaching. It’s important that you find a model that works best in your school and in your position.

Time Management for Instructional Coaches ~ What Should I be doing?

One of the biggest struggles in life is not having enough time in a day. This holds true when you are an instructional coach. Upon first getting hired or first getting into the field, the amount of time, paperwork, and observation was probably overwhelming and maybe it still is. Time management is one of the most difficult aspects of being an instructional coach and often times we find ourselves asking: what should I be doing? 

How to maintain your sanity while still being a great Instructional Coach

Being an Instructional Coach can be taxing to say the least. We are teachers of teachers. We are data bases. We are advocates for students. We wear so many hats that sometimes the ones that are most important get put on the backburner. It’s important we remember to pull out the “I’m still a person” hat, “mom/dad” hat, or any other hat we previously enjoyed wearing before school started up again. Not getting to wear all the hats you want to can be frustrating, but wearing too many hats can be downright stressful.

Fostering Strong Relationships Through Positive Feedback

The biggest and most important job we have as instructional coaches is to give feedback to the teachers we work with. While it can be easy to focus on the areas teachers need to improve on, it is always important to provide teachers with positive feedback. There are many ways and reasons to provide positive feedback to teachers and in doing so, you will create stronger relationships with those you work with. 

The Do's and Don'ts of Instructional Coaching

Education, as it’s been known for years on end, is ever changing.  Most recently, the change has shifted to include instructional coaches as onsite job-embedded professional development for classroom teachers.  We are seeing more and more schools adapting to this quickly spreading idea of bringing in an outside brain for one common goal, the one thing that continues to stay the same in education….student achievement.  As with any new idea, there are important strategies to use and to NOT use.