Latin School of Chicago

Latin Magazine Winter 2019

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News & Notes News & Notes Do You Know? My Story Arts Athletics Around School Keep on top of all the latest happenings in and out of the classroom at Latin. Data use blazes new trails to educational excellence Amanda Taglia is a self-proclaimed data geek. Initially hired as a learning resource teacher, Taglia now serves as Latin's testing coordinator—perfect for someone who is passionate about data. In this role, she analyzes three different testing assessments given to middle school students throughout the school year to determine areas of strengths, areas that need improvement and trends across classes. Although the testing has taken place for many years, Taglia and Middle School Director Deb Sampey recognized that they were not using the resulting data as effectively as they could. Taglia wrote a proposal to create her position, which was made possible through the Teacher Excellence Grant. "What is cool about using data in independent schools is that it is not driving everything we do. It gives us a nice process so that we can reflect on what we are doing. [Data] informs the teaching, but it doesn't drive it," said Taglia. Sampey echoed this philosophy. "We are not looking to data to provide answers but rather to lead us to the right questions," she said. For example, when Taglia cross references data for the three testing instruments and sees that they align for a student in a particular subject or area such as math or reading comprehension, she may reach out to the teacher and parent to suggest intervention support. Intervention support normally occurs before school and also is funded by the grant. "We are happy to be able support intervention, and the difference this intervention makes to students can be significant," said Taglia. is year Latin received an honorable mention for the David Clume Award for Data Analysis and Educational Excellence. Presented by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB), a nonprofit organization that has developed and administers one of the testing instruments, the award recognizes exceptional achievement in data-based research that supports student learning and drives educational excellence. Said Tom Rochon, president of ERB, "Your multi-year reports on content mastery within each grade level are a model of how to use assessment data for insight into the effectiveness of particular areas of the curriculum. ere is a deep integrity, Amanda and Deb, in being willing to probe honestly the strengths and weaknesses of any given learning environment, and then to follow up with the necessary adjustments where you seek improvement. is is just how we hope CTP [comprehensive testing program] data might be used." Sampey and Taglia have blazed a trail of data usage that is now being adopted in every academic and business area of Latin, not to mention schools across the nation. But their mindset remains forever in growth mode. "It takes time to understand it and use it," Taglia said. "Every year we are learning more and more and making changes for the better. And every year we think, 'How can we use this data to help our students?'" We are not looking to data to provide answers but rather to lead us to the right questions. Deb Sampey, middle school director AROUND SCHOOL 4

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