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New white paper: How are schools using data to inform strategic decision making to shape instruction and learning?

 Valley View School District in Illinois unpacks data and evidence to achieve teacher clarity and improve student outcomes

Los Angeles, CA (October 31, 2016) While the use of data in schools has changed over the decades, today’s districts face a widening gap between data derived from external assessments and data generated within the classroom. School leaders are challenged. They want educators to use the data to inform instruction and personalize learning, but the majority of data educators receive comes too slowly, is too granular, and offers little value for modifying classroom practices. This has even led many teachers to grow distrustful of the data generated beyond their classrooms. So, how are schools addressing these growing concerns?

A new white paper released by Corwin and SmartBrief, provides insight into how schools can turn their data and other evidence into an effective, trusted instructional tool. This SmartFocus white paper examines how the Valley View School District 365U in Illinois applied practices from Visible Learningplus, a professional development program based on John Hattie’s Visible Learning research and Larry Ainsworth’s Common Formative Assessments 2.0 (CFA 2.0) to tackle their data overload and clarify their goals for professional development, instruction, and learning experiences for its students and staff.

Visible Learningplus and CFA 2.0 offer a framework deeply based on research to help educators develop a common understanding and shared language around what they are doing in their classrooms. “We had all of this data, but we were looking at it in isolation and not in conjunction with research,” says Karen Flories, executive director for educational services in grades 6–12 at Valley View Schools. Partnering with Corwin’s professional development team, the district introduced Visible Learning research as a tool for assessing teaching practices to determine which ones showed the most significant positive effect on students.

Dave Nagel, Corwin’s certified consultant for on-site professional development for Valley View, points out that assessing student growth is a complex undertaking, one that goes beyond students hitting particular grade marks. “Do students know what they’re learning? Why they’re completing specific tasks? Do teachers feel supported in their professional learning journey?” As Nagel explains, “it has to be a combination of student achievement and student growth results, certainly, but also the voice evidence related to learning. If those things are happening, usually, the achievement results take care of themselves.”

In fact, this has been the case at Valley View, where the district has seen strong correlations between student voice and student outcome data. An example is PARCC scores for middle and high school English/language arts and math that surpassed state averages in the 2014-2015 school year.

Find out more by reading the full white paper on the Corwin website.



About Corwin

Corwin, a SAGE company, was established in 1990 to provide solutions for PreK–12 educators. Corwin produces books and multimedia resources that range from very practical, experience-based resources to more reflective or research-based titles, and are written for a diverse set of professionals—principals, administrators, specialists, teachers, counselors, consultants, teacher educators, and collegiate-level students. Learn more at

About SmartBrief

Serving nearly 6 million senior executives, thought leaders and industry professionals, SmartBrief is the leading digital media publisher of targeted business news and information by industry. By combining technology and editorial expertise, SmartBrief filters thousands of sources daily to deliver the most relevant industry news in partnership with leading trade associations, professional societies, nonprofits and corporate entities. Learn more at


Media contact: Katie Stoddard - (805) 358-5261 |