UNPACK Assessment Data – Here’s How

UNPACK Assessment Data – Here’s How Imagine an educational system without assessments.  But, you ask, how will we know students are learning? How do we ensure our programs are helping students grow?

Educators now have access to quality data to support student learning, and it is essential that data is unpacked with fidelity.  One challenge to developing data literacy is not putting data in the proper context.  Take for example the Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®), a computer adaptive interim assessment which provides data about a student’s zone of proximal development.  Many schools use MAP to make instructional decisions and support school-wide programs.  The data provided helps educators measure the growth of students, engage students in goal-setting, and support evidence-informed instructional practices.

Maximizing MAP data can transform school-wide instruction and programs.  One method to maximize data is through UNPACKing the data.  UNPACK is an acronym that can help you remember the critical elements of data analysis, and put the data in proper context.

U – Unification of relevant reports.

If you are analyzing student data, make sure to gather reports that are relevant to your role and the groups of students that you are analyzing.  NWEA professional development workshops guide teachers and administrators through understanding the purpose of each report relevant to particular roles, as well as critical data points.

N – Norms: Student vs. School.

Referencing normative data helps to put your student data in perspective, and it is important that you understand how the normative data is collected, and the differences between student norms and school norms.  Each set of norms provides information about the achievement and growth of individual and groups of students.

P – Proficiency reference.

Schools and districts commonly set their own standard for proficiency on MAP.  Other uses of proficiency references include state assessments, college and career readiness, and consortia tests.  Seek the support of your NWEA partner support representative if you need assistance in setting proficiency references at your school or district.  Our professional development consulting or coaching options can also help guide your leadership team in this decision making process.

A – Achievement: Status vs. Growth.

NWEA provides status norms and growth projections for maintaining status. Understanding how growth projections are created and the impact on a student’s percentile (status) is essential when educators begin the process of goal setting.

C – Context: Types of Growth.

There are various types of growth that can be used within a school setting.  Knowing the difference between process goals, growth goals, and proficiency goals (just to name a few), can help determine which data you use to set goals.  Focusing on Growth is one of the ways the NWEA professional development team can support your district or school.

K – Know Your Standard.  

The NWEA national normative data is a great context to use as a reference as you determine standards of optimal performance for your school or district.  Determining your personal “good” before you begin to analyze data will help you truly begin to UNPACK the data by putting your student performance in proper perspective and within the right context.

This acronym for UNPACK addresses common themes that surface during my work with NWEA partners in workshops, coaching sessions and consultations, and each of the topics helps educators become more data literate.  To learn more about maximizing your MAP® data, download our article 7 Questions for Your Best Professional Development Plan.