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Transforming the use of data in education to improve student achievement
Korynn Schooley
Current Organization: Fulton County Schools
Placement Organization: Fulton County Schools
M.P.P., Public Policy
Harvard University

Building Analytic Connections from District to School
(The spotlight below reflects the fellow's work at the time the story was published, in January 2011.)

The analysis generated by the SDP College-Going Diagnostic serves as an important first step in raising awareness about the district’s track record of postsecondary success. But for the analysis to truly have an impact on the district’s ability to ensure postsecondary success for its students, a key next step is engaging all stakeholders with actionable data. To make the diagnostic analysis relevant, SDP Fellow Korynn Schooley developed school-level reports for each school counselor and coach, which provided them with data on individual high school college-going trends. Through conversations about the data, counselors and coaches have started to think about what school-level decisions, practices, or policies contribute to the current outcomes, and how those practices can be changed to improve outcomes. In addition, Korynn’s analysis helped identify a discrepancy in the district’s “intent to enroll incollege” (from high school student exit surveys at graduation) and actual college enrollment rates the following fall. This analysis revealed a more significant “summer melt” problem in FCS than previously understood. With Korynn’s input, the district continues to explore possible intervention programs to improve fall college enrollment rates among those students who “intend to enroll”at graduation. For example, this summer FCS will pilot a summer transition program to increase the district’s college enrollment rate. The program will target students who intend to enroll in a postsecondary institution (PSI) andprovide them with specific college-going services during the summer betweenhigh school graduation and fall PSI enrollment. Possible assistance will include:securing additional financial aid, acting as a liaison between the student and the PSI, and helping with paperwork associated with course selection, housing, etc. A similar pilot conducted in Rhode Island in 2008 found that the program had asignificant positive effect on college enrollment rates.

Korynn was also asked to conduct analysis that would provide teachers, principals, and curriculum staff with information about the relationship between Checkpoints, the Fulton County Schools’ (FCS) benchmark test, and CRCT (Criterion Referenced Competency Test ), the Georgia state test. The Checkpoints assessment was designed to be aligned with the CRCT. They are administered to students several months prior to the CRCT to help teachers benchmark student achievement. But there was skepticism among teachers and principals as towhether Checkpoints could be used to predict student performance on the CRCT. Korynn conducted two separate analyses to determine the relationship between Checkpoints and CRCT. Her analysis confirmed a strong positive relationship between the February 2010 Checkpoints and the spring 2010 CRCT in Grades 2 through 8 for reading, math, and ELA. The district shared this analysis with teachers, principals, and curriculum staff to help them learn more about therelationship between Checkpoints and CRCT, and to enlist their support for thecontinued use of Checkpoints. The analysis clearly indicates that if teachers are able to increase student performance on Checkpoints, then they will see a corresponding increase in CRCT achievement.

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