This article summarizes initial findings of a case study investigating data use in five low-performing urban high schools undergoing comprehensive school-wide reform. The case study investigated the ways in which disaggregated data were used to examine progress and guide improvement; factors and conditions that either facilitated or impeded productive data use; and policy and practice implications for achieving effective data use in a high school reform process.
Although the study does not focus specifically on the use of interim testing, the authors’ findings appear relevant to promoting the productive use of such results. Key factors that influenced data use in study sites include: data quality and accuracy, timely data access, data system capacity to integrate and disaggregate multiple sources of data, the collaborative use of data organized around a clear set of questions, and leadership structures supporting schoolwide use of data. The authors describe how each factor played out in their study sites and also emphasize the key roles played by data teams and data coaches in promotive effective data use. Note, however, that the study found that only two of the five high schools showed effective use of data.