The practice guide was developed by a panel of experts who synthesized available research with expert opinion to provide five recommendations essential for the effective use of data. The five recommendations are:
- Make data part of an ongoing cycle of instructional improvement.
- Teach students to examine their own data and set learning goals.
- Establish a clear vision for school-wide data use.
- Provide supports that foster a data-driven culture within the school.
- Develop and maintain a district-wide data system.
Although the guide does not specifically focus on the use of interim assessment data, its recommendations are highly relevant to that context. The guide is particularly useful because it describes concrete steps that can be taken to implement each of the five recommendations and provides suggestions for combating obstacles that may impede progress in each area. Important, the guide recommends that all of the recommendations be implemented together rather than treated individually.