Data Inquiry

  • What is Data Inquiry?

    Inquiry is a scaffolded process that guides teams of teachers and school leaders to:

    • Identify student learning challenges based on data
    • Examine instruction to understand how teaching impacts learning
    • Design high-leverage instructional strategies
    • Assess progress in student learning and teacher practice
    • Refine and adjust practice until student learning improves
    • Discover their own professional learning needs

    Every school has a “sphere of success” – a group of students with whom the school is currently successful. The challenge is to continually expand that sphere to include all students. Inquiry teams iteratively drill down to increasingly specific and immediate data in order to hone understanding of the learning challenges students face and increase the specificity and alignment of their response. Engaging in collaborative inquiry increases teacher efficacy as teams see the direct impact their teaching has on student learning and their collective capacity to expand the sphere of success.

    In order to expand each school’s sphere of success, we utilize the Data Wise Improvement Process from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to lead schools through cycles of collaborative inquiry. The Data Wise Improvement Process develops the practices and habits of mind necessary for continuous improvement through three phases: Prepare, Inquire, and Act. As described by authors Kathy Boudett, Elizabeth City, and Richard Murnane, during the Data Wise Improvement Process:

    1. Initially, teams "prepare" for work by establishing team structures and expectations, and learning principles of responsible data use.
    2. Teams then "inquire" by looking for patterns in data that indicate areas for improving teaching and learning.
    3. Finally, teams "act" on what they learn by designing and implementing instructional improvements.

    Data Inquiry Website and Ready-to-use Materials

    The Data Inquiry website offers resources and materials to support schools with the implementation of inquiry best practices. These resources include professional development sessions, videos of teams presenting their inquiry work, templates and ready-to-use agendas for a step-by-step approach to collaborative teacher inquiry based on the Data Wise Improvement Process.

    These materials are designed to provide facilitators and participants who may be new to Data Wise (and inquiry) with the tools, resources and guidance they will need to launch an inquiry journey, though experienced teams may also draw upon these materials to support their inquiry work.

    Please note that a BPS email address is required to access these materials.

    Twitter and Instagram: @BPSInquiryTeam

    Our Coaching Model and Framework

    Building Teacher Skill and Team Capacity
    Collaborative inquiry is a vehicle for distributing school leadership and augmenting the capacity of individual teachers and teams of teachers to understand and resolve student learning challenges. By focusing on increasing the autonomy and mastery of school team members, Boston can achieve sustainable and scalable school improvement.

    The Role of Inquiry Facilitators
    The BPS Data Inquiry Team will coach teams at more than 30 schools for the 2017-2018 school year, all of whom applied for inquiry coaching support. Each school will be matched with a particular Inquiry Facilitator, who will coach team facilitators to lead collaborative inquiry cycles, facilitate adult learning, and utilize practical tools for identifying and addressing student learning challenges. Inquiry Facilitators differentiate support within the school by providing intensive coaching to the Principal and, depending on coaching model, the Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) and select staff members.

    Model 1: School-Wide Inquiry Coaching
    The Principal, ILT, and Teacher Facilitators receive coaching from an Inquiry Facilitator to lead collaborative inquiry cycles. As part of this coaching, the Inquiry Facilitator supports planning and facilitation of the ILT and 3–5 teacher teams.  In addition, the Inquiry Facilitator supports the design of a cohesive model to implement inquiry, which also includes school-wide professional development.

    Model 2: School Leadership Coaching
    The Principal, ILT, and Admin Team  receive coaching from an Inquiry Facilitator on key leadership practices to build and sustain data-driven instruction school-wide.  As part of this coaching, the Inquiry Facilitator supports planning and facilitation of the Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) and periodically joins Admin Team Meetings.  In addition, the Inquiry Facilitator supports the design of a cohesive model to sustain continuous improvements to teaching and learning.

    Model 3: Observation and Feedback Coaching
    The Principal and Admin Team  receive coaching from an Inquiry Facilitator on leading observation and feedback cycles.  As part of this coaching, the Inquiry Facilitator supports planning and facilitation of instructionally-focused Admin Team meetings, as well as a prioritized group of individual teachers with follow up actions from observation-debrief cycles. In addition, the Inquiry Facilitator supports the design of a cohesive model for curriculum and lesson planning.

    Professional Development Modules for SY17-18

    The BPS Inquiry Team will offer several professional development modules in SY 2017-18, to be offered either at the school level for an entire school staff, or at the district level with educators from across the district enrolling.

    Each module, aligned with the BPS Leadership competencies  and Essentials for Instruction,  will include 6 sessions. In addition to enrolling teachers in district-wide modules, schools interested in having their full staff participate in a PD module may request to have a module facilitated at their school during school PD hours. The BPS Inquiry Team will seek to accommodate school-based requests to the extent possible based on availability and capacity.

    PD Modules
    MODULE 1: Introduction to the Data Wise Improvement Process
    MODULE 2: Applying Reflective Teaching Practices to Unit Planning
    MODULE 3: Effective meeting planning and facilitation
    MODULE 4: Formative Assessment that Advances Learning
    MODULE 5: BPS Interim Assessments - To Illuminate and Beyond!

    How to Apply
    School leader application to request a school-based PD module.