Lead without Limits Wisdom: Consistent Reports Support Professional Development, Student Achievement Initiatives at Alief ISD

Posted by Matt Berringer on July 29, 2015

LeadWithoutLimitsLogoAlief Independent School District’s (ISD’s) Accountability Department has supported the district’s 41 campuses by developing standardized Cognos reports to enable them to examine their unique student population and formulate initiatives to support student achievement. The reports make it easier for district educators and administrators to gain meaningful insights from multiple sources of data and to develop strategies that help ensure the success of Alief ISD students.

According to Natalie Martinez, Alief ISD’s director of accountability, the Cognos Assessment reports provide individual information on every child in a building in a single spreadsheet. “The Accountability team pivots the information for each campus depending on the time of year and the need,” says Martinez. She offers these examples of the key decision making that the reports support:

  • During the summer, Alief ISD uses these reports to support principals in determining the need for their incoming student population. “Principals are able to determine how many advanced courses or intervention courses are needed based on incoming student reports,” Martinez explains. “These reports not only give STAAR information, but also demographic, program, and accommodations information. They also give us TELPAS scores and INOVA scores, which support language development and the psycho-social intervention for students.”
  • Once the school year has begun, Martinez says Alief ISD uses these reports to show the district’s Instructional Leadership Teams where students are placed by content and teacher. “This again supports campus leadership teams in determining where their support is needed most,” she says. “Classrooms with high-risk students may need additional support from an interventionist, co-teacher, or administrator. Planning ahead allows campus principals to make the most of their resources.”
  • During the school year, Alief ISD also uses Cognos Assessment reports to show teachers the potential of their students. “Scores are analyzed to show growth of individual students. We also focus on how close students are to the different passing standards,” Martinez explains. “Our goal is to push all students to the next level. Students who have already passed the test are targeted to meet Final Level II standard, and those already there are targeted to meet Advanced Level III. Teachers can clearly see, in an organized spreadsheet, where students are performing and what their next level of success should be.”
  • Prior to state testing, Martinez says Alief ISD uses the Cognos Test Score reports for high schools that are determining which students need to take an end-of-course (EOC) assessment. “This report gives us information on who has taken, but not passed an EOC,” she says. “This, along with course enrollment data, gives us our starting point to begin preparing for EOC testing. Our high schools have more than 3,000 students, and this report gives us a great start.”

For Alief ISD, the standardized reports have been a catalyst for success for students and educators alike. Alief ISD’s educators and administrators now have a clear expectation of what data they will receive. Through effective professional development efforts, they are prepared to efficiently analyze the data and effectively collaborate on a plan to improve student achievement.

”When systems are put in place, people know what to expect. Planning ahead is essential and Cognos reports support our effort in preparing for our students,” says Martinez. “Once campuses see the power and potential of planning ahead with Cognos reports, they are eager to begin the work.”

The Accountability Department of Alief Independent School District has been recognized as a Data All-Star in SunGard K-12 Education’s Lead without Limits Awards Program. From nominations from educators and school administrators from across the country, the team of Alief ISD administrators was selected as those who best use data to positively affect student achievement.

The Lead without Limits Awards Program recognizes school districts, schools, departments, administrators, and educators that leverage technology to help improve student achievement and/or school or district efficiency. Data All-Stars, one of the Lead without Limits Award categories, use data to positively affect student achievement by applying best practices or innovating processes. Whether their initiatives are impacting one student or hundreds of students, recipients are unlocking student potential by applying insights gained from an analysis of data.

Nominations for the Lead without Limits Awards are accepted through an application form available on SunGard K-12 Education’s website. For guidelines and selection process, please see the Lead without Limits Awards Program information online.

Topics: Lead without Limits Awards, Cognos