Executive Summary – Making the Most of Interim Assessment Data: Lessons from Philadelphia
This multi-method qualitative study focuses on interim data use in 10 low performing elementary schools in Philadelphia. It focuses on how schools and instructional communities within those schools (grade level teams, instructional leadership teams) use interim data for instructional improvement at the classroom, grade, and school levels. The study is based on a theory of action that outlines how the use of interim assessment influences student learning. The theory considers the influence of the larger policy context and dimensions of school capacity on a four step feedback system that translates interim data into improvement action, which in turn yields gains in student learning. The four dimensions of school capacity are human and social capital, structural capacity, and available solutions. The four step feedback system, which the authors posit as operating at multiple levels, includes accessing and organizing data, sense-making to identify problems and solutions, trying solutions, and assessing and modifying solutions.