Analyzing the correlation between data usage and student performance on the Missouri Assessment Program
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School districts are charged with the task of improving standardized test scores and closing the gaps between specific groups of students. Numerous programs, school improvement strategies, changes in instruction and leadership have been implemented to close the gap. Data are becoming more abundant at the state, district, and school levels. Many districts track student test scores year-to-year to plan interventions for students who are lagging behind in efforts to meet state standards in reading and mathematics. As school districts collect more data to meet the NCLB law, they have become valuable players in efforts to use data to drive instructional decisions. The purpose of the study is to examine the level of data usage (high and low) of the public elementary schools in Southeast Missouri (16 counties) and to examine the correlation with student MAP performance in Communication Arts and Math. The rationale is that public elementary schools, which have participated in high level data usage in this sample would demonstrate high student performance on the MAP test. The study will observe whether or not this is true in the six high data usage and six low data usage schools selected based on survey results. The data usage rates were correlated to the 2010-2011 MAP Advanced/Proficient Score in Math and Communication Arts. The findings for the original two research questions demonstrated there was no significant relationship between the data usage of elementary school personnel and the Communication Arts MAP nor was there a significant relationship between the data usage of elementary school personnel and the Math MAP Advanced/Proficient score. The mean scores between high and low data usage schools only showed a mean difference of less than one. The respondent scores demonstrated the principal scored higher in all four subset categories over all other respondent groups. The difference between principal means and classroom teacher was less than one in all subsets except Implementation. As the need for increased test scores continues through the NCLB initiatives, school districts will continue to find the best practices necessary to boost teacher effectiveness and student performance. Continued research is needed in Southeast Missouri to identify the forms of data analysis that are informing best practices in high performing schools.