Action Step and Orientation

L3. Create and implement a data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.

In this lesson, you and your campus-based leadership team colleagues will learn about the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction referred to in the Texas State Literacy Plan (TSLP) and will consider how data can be used to develop and monitor a data-informed plan.

Part 1 of this lesson provides information on how to create a campus-wide data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.

Part 2 explains how to use data to inform, assess, and revise goals and actions in your data-informed plan.

Part 3 explains how to plan for professional development that supports the implementation of your data-informed plan.

To get started, download the Implementation Guide for this component and refer to the Action Step for this lesson. Review the Implementation Indicators for each level of implementation and note the Sample Evidence listed at the bottom of the chart.

Part 1—Creating a Campus-Wide Data-Informed Plan for Improving Literacy Instruction

A campus-wide data-informed plan is a blueprint or roadmap that describes your goals for improvement as well as the steps you will take to achieve these goals. A data-informed plan uses a range of information: student performance data, literacy needs and expectations, the school’s capacity to support literacy development, current teaching practices, and data on the effectiveness of a research-based literacy program.

Many campuses already have improvement plans that include literacy as well as other goals. In implementing the TSLP, your team will focus on the goals related to literacy. This may become a subset of a larger plan such as a school-wide improvement plan or a literacy-specific plan. In either case, the components of your data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction should include the following:

  • Targeted goals
  • Steps to accomplish targeted goals
  • Multiple data sources
  • Interim progress monitoring checkpoints
  • Resources to support the goals
  • Individuals responsible for monitoring progress towards the goal
  • Timelines or deadlines for completing the steps to accomplish targeted goals

A data-informed plan is one part of an effective school-improvement effort. The plan lays out both the priorities for school-improvement activities and a set of specific plans for bringing about the desired changes. The process of creating and implementing a data-informed plan guides the leadership team’s decision making around instruction, programming, and resource allocation. Naturally, one key component of the plan is the data itself. Data sources that may inform your plan include the following:

  • Screening – Assessments used to determine the current performance of all students and that identify specific individuals and areas requiring additional intervention
  • Diagnostic – Assessments used to diagnose specific areas of strength and need
  • Progress monitoring – Assessments used to monitor progress throughout the year (By definition, these will differ from state assessments that are administered only once a year.)
  • Outcome – Assessments that evaluate cumulative knowledge (i.e., national standardized assessments and state accountability tests such as State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness [STAAR])
  • Language proficiency assessment data (e.g., Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System [TELPAS]) for English learners
  • Classroom assessment data such as teacher-developed tests and observation checklists, curriculum-based assessments, homework assignments, class projects, and end-of-unit tests

To make informed decisions, it is critical that you and your campus-based leadership team examine various data sources and ask what those data sources reveal about students’ performance and learning. The scenario that follows demonstrates how to use a questioning approach with data.

Scenario: To ensure effective goals are in place to improve student achievement, the campus-based leadership team at Jones Middle School analyzes its campus data looking for performance gaps and trends at each grade level. The team asks questions such as the following:

  • What do you notice about the data?
  • Are there significant gaps in our students' understanding or skills?
  • To what might poor results be attributed?
  • Are some groups of students underperforming others?
  • Are there gaps in our sources of data?
  • How might we assess other perceived challenge areas?

The campus-based leadership team sees that the STAAR data indicates a need in reading comprehension, but more information is needed, so team members decide to talk to sixth- and seventh-grade teachers about the results and data from their classroom-based measures. Classroom teachers indicate that they think students do well on comprehension tests of texts discussed in class, but many perform poorly when assessed on texts that have not been discussed. Informal surveys and discussions with students give them the impression that a main obstacle to comprehension is vocabulary. The campus leadership team asks the English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) teachers to use their curriculum materials to conduct a screening of vocabulary knowledge for incoming sixth-graders and analyze the results.

In their training from the Texas Adolescent Literacy Academy (TALA), the teachers had learned about the three tiers of words (common words, academic words, and content-specific words). They use this knowledge to analyze the vocabulary assessment results. The teachers find that the students who struggled with reading comprehension on the STAAR have the most difficulty with academic words, also known as Tier II words. As a result, academic vocabulary improvement becomes a targeted goal for the sixth grade.

Extra steps are taken to gather more than only the annual state assessment data. Team members consult informal anecdotal information from teachers, follow-up screening of vocabulary knowledge, and analysis by vocabulary type (e.g., general academic words, content-specific terms). These steps allow the campus-based leadership team and the teachers to narrow their goals and create action steps directly related to students' specific needs.

This multilayered inquiry approach inspires rich conversations among members of the Jones Middle School faculty at all grade levels, not just the one described here. As the campus-based leadership team continues to review and revise the data-informed plan, these rich conversations will guide the faculty in using the plan as outlined in the TSLP.

icon for Learning more

TO LEARN MORE: You can view a blank-data informed plan template and a compilation of sample plan entries for grades 6–12. You may choose to use the blank template (and modify it as needed) or use a similar template for your data-informed plan.

icon for next steps

NEXT STEPS: Depending on your team's progress in creating the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction, you may want to consider the following next steps:

  • Review the format for your data-informed plan to ensure that it includes all the necessary components. (See To Learn More above for a sample template.)
  • Identify the data sources you want to use for developing your annual goals, interim progress monitoring checkpoints, and planned actions.
  • Collect, organize, and review your data.
  • Analyze your data and determine patterns of students' strengths and needs.
  • Determine your goals.
  • Plan the steps to achieve your goals.
  • Determine ways to communicate with teachers and other stakeholders regarding the plan.
  • Establish times, dates, and procedures for revisiting the plan regularly.

Part 2—Using Data to Inform, Assess, and Revise Goals and Actions in the Data-Informed Plan for Improving Literacy Instruction

Collecting and using data is essential for your plan to be successful. Data-informed planning is at the center of all of your improvement efforts, so it is key for you and your team to establish procedures for systematically reviewing data and effectively interpreting data for planning purposes.

As you and your team begin your initial work in creating and implementing your plan, you may focus on the Indicators in Levels A and B of Action Step L3. You will focus on gathering data and reaching a collaborative consensus about which needs are evidenced in the data. Once you have identified areas of need, you can begin working on a data-informed plan for addressing those needs.

The campus-based leadership team is responsible for developing and monitoring a data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction. The plan is constructed around rigorous standards-based instruction, literacy across academic content areas, multiple sources of data, and best practices. The campus-based leadership team supports the data-informed plan by incorporating targeted goals and action steps to support the plan. The team’s responsibility is to

  • use assessment data to identify areas of strength and challenge;
  • develop goals across each grade level and content area;
  • identify the type of data to be used;
  • monitor progress toward accomplishing each goal;
  • list resources needed to attain the goals;
  • establish a timeline for resources allocation;
  • solicit feedback from stakeholders; and
  • meet regularly to review and/or revise the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.

Once you and your team have created your data-informed plan, or your roadmap to school improvement, your work can center on implementing and sustaining the plan over time for continued literacy growth. This is an ongoing process that you and your team will lead.

Implementing and sustaining a plan entails ongoing data training for stakeholders to empower them to measure progress toward the targeted goals defined in your campus-wide data-informed plan. Frequently monitoring and evaluating the goals and action steps allows your campus-based leadership team to refine and redefine the campus goals as needed. The team’s responsibility is to

  • evaluate the goals and action steps of the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction;
  • ensure the data-informed plan is based on student success and outcome data;
  • confirm there is ongoing collaboration with stakeholders concerning the data-informed plan; and
  • sustain the systemic process used in developing the plan over time and across administrators.

Part 3—Planning Professional Development to Support a Data-Informed Plan for Improving Literacy Instruction

Teacher education and growth are the foundations of your school improvement efforts. When decisions about the types and topics of professional development are data-informed—that is, when educator strengths and needs are identified through systematic review of educational data—those learning opportunities can be valuable and powerful for teachers. As you and your team create your data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction and begin to focus on areas of potential growth for teachers, it is critical to ensure that both student and teacher learning goals are set and steps are taken to achieve those goals.

Lessons L4–Instructional leadership and L5–Coaching for improved literacy instruction elaborate on the components of a successful professional development model. Professional development is not simply an individual training or workshop. It requires a system of job-embedded support in which campus instructional leaders provide ongoing opportunities for teachers to learn new practices, successfully implement them, receive feedback and engage in reflection, and continue to refine their practice over time.

As the data-informed plan is created, your campus-based leadership team will want to consider multiple formats for providing professional development and support in the following areas:

  • Disciplinary literacy – How experts construct texts and communicate knowledge in each core content area
  • General and disciplinary reading strategies – Specific reading strategy instruction and application to academic texts in different content areas
  • General and disciplinary writing strategies – Specific writing strategy instruction and application to academic tasks in different content areas
  • Modeling – Demonstrating strategies and doing think-alouds of content-area literacy tasks for reading and writing
  • Feedback – Providing feedback and grading written work for content-area tasks
  • Curriculum integration – Integrating vocabulary and disciplinary literacy instruction into content-area curricula scope and sequence

It will be useful for ELAR teachers and specialists to share the strategies that they are teaching their students and for teachers to brainstorm how these strategies can apply across content areas. Because most ELAR preparation programs do not focus on the content-area application or the text structures of other disciplines, additional expert support through formal training, modeling, coaching, book studies, or other research-based professional development will be needed.

icon for next steps

NEXT STEPS: Depending on your team’s progress in creating the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction, you may want to consider the following next steps:

  • Determine the format for your data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction. (See To Learn More in Part 1 for examples.)
  • Identify the data sources your team wants to use for developing your campus goals and steps for achieving them.
  • Collect and organize your campus’s data.
  • Analyze your data and determine areas of strength and need.
  • Determine your goals.
  • Plan steps to achieve your goals.
  • Solicit input from teachers and other stakeholders regarding the plan.


L3. Create and implement a data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.

With your site/campus-based leadership team, review your team’s self-assessed rating for Action Step L3 in the TSLP Implementation Status Ratings document and then respond to the four questions in the assignment.

TSLP Implementation Status Ratings 6-12

In completing your assignment with your team, the following resources and information from this lesson’s content may be useful to you:

  • Refer to Part 1 for information about creating your campus’s data-informed plan.
  • Refer to Part 2 for information about using data to inform, assess, and revise goals and actions in the data-informed plan for improving literacy instruction.
  • Refer to Part 3 for information about providing professional development that supports the implementation of your plan.

Next Steps also contains suggestions that your campus may want to consider when you focus your efforts on this Action Step.

To record your responses, go to the Assignment template for this lesson and follow the instructions.