Blog Series: Data is Your Friend!

Part 2: Identify Methods to Track Data and Report Outcomes

If a school is going to bog-down in the process of using data, it will most likely be in this area. Once you identify your lead metrics, you, as an administrator must determine the most effective way to track and report the data. If you simply ask your educators to collect and report the data, you have failed this step, since you just became a barrier in their ability to accomplish the actions you’re asking them to improve. We call that dumping on your educators. Don’t do that!

Instead, either build or find a collection system that meets your needs and automates as much of the process as possible. In our case, this school found a system that met their data collection needs without adding barriers for educators to meet the action improvement goals with Pulse.

With Pulse they were able to track staff communication rates and quality, student time-on-task, log-in-rate, and progress metrics, daily and weekly attendance rates, and student communication rates. By automating the collection process staff were more open to learning how best to monitor these metrics to help improve student engagement and course completion rates. Pulse was a game-changer in developing a simple and convenient way to integrate the use of data into the operating model of the school. We’ll discuss the reporting process created next.

How to Effectively Report Outcomes – Benchmarks

Once you’ve identified your lead metrics and either found or created a data collection tool, it’s time to develop your benchmarks to help you categorize your results effectively. To evaluate the appropriate categories you would need to track those metrics for a period of time. The school we examined had the data tracking tool in place and they were able to rely on past data to identify appropriate benchmarks for the key metrics they needed. As mentioned in a previous blog, they developed the idea of evaluating staff ‘connection’ with students using two variables – attendance rates, and student response rates. They also wanted to closely track how some student engagement statistics like student’s time-on-task and log-in-rates were affected by the connection metrics. Let’s take a minute to clearly define those metrics here.

Attendance Rate – Percentage of the students in the staff members class that had a qualified attendance conversation with the staff member that week (85% means that 85% of the students assigned to that staff member had an educational conversation with the staff member)

Response Rate – The average number of days that students were communicating back to the staff member (a 4 would signify that on average, students assigned to that staff member were replying to the staff members communication 4 out of 5 days within a week)

Time-on-Task – The average number of hours the students were spending in the Learning Management System working on their course. (a 7 would indicate that on average the students assigned to this staff member were spending 7 hours that week working on their course inthe Learning Management System) 

Log-in-Rate – They average number of days in a week that the students assigned to the staff member logged into their class and completed work (a 3 would signify that those students logged in on average three days in a five day school week to work on their course)

As discussed previously, the data showed that when attendance and response rates were high, time-on-task and log-in-rates were also higher. Because of the increased work level, courses were completed faster and that would have a positive effect on graduation rates.

The school chose to set their benchmarks accordingly, based on the results they observed.

Note the color coding and numbers on the column headers. The numbers are intended to match up with the categories you would normally find on a teacher evaluation: 1 = Ineffective, 2 = Effective, and 3 = Highly Effective. The color coding was added so that it matched the colors present on the staff dashboards for the categories accomplished. We’ll investigate the use and design of the dashboards next. Next: How to Effectively Report Outcomes — Dashboards


Since 2011 Chris Loiselle has worked as building administrator, CFO, and Chief Strategic Officer for Success Virtual Learning Centers and Berrien Springs Public Schools, where he is currently filling the Director of Quality Assurance role. While working at Success, Chris was instrumental in the development of the Pulse student support software. His passion is working in K-12 managing e-learning centers and building software to help improve virtual learning outcomes.

Chris has presented on this student data topic at the 2022 Digital Learning Annual Conference and will also be presenting at Quality Matters’ 2022 QM Connect conference November 6-9 in Tuscon, AZ.

His goal is to be able to help people prosper and succeed in today’s challenging educational environment.

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