The Five Data Questions NCVPS Curriculum and Instruction Division
The Five Data Questions
When analyzing data from your courses, it is important to answer questions to make sure that you have looked at all aspects of the data.
What does the data tell you?
What does the data not tell you?
What are the celebrations about the data?
What opportunities for improvement does the data allow us?
Based on your analysis of the data, what are the next steps and timeline for next steps?
What does the data tell us?
When you first analyze the data from your course, look at the data at “face value.” Don’t read anything into the data, but look only at what the data is really telling us. As you further analyze the data for what it tells us, make sure to consider the following questions:
What are specifics that come directly from looking at the data?
What are the positive aspects of the data?
What are the negative aspects of the data?
What does the data not tell us?
After you have analyzed the data at “face value,” you need to look for what the data fails to tell us. Sometimes the data doesn’t paint a clear picture and we need more information. When analyzing the data for what it does not tell us, consider the following questions:
What are data points that might be missing?
What data points would we want to have a clearer understanding?
What part of the larger picture is missing because of the data that was collected?
What are the celebrations?
Many times when we look at data, we tend to focus on the negative aspects. We normally use data in our courses to make revisions or to improve instruction. One thing we need to focus on are the positives that come from the data. When analyzing the data for the positives, consider the following questions:
What data points provide a positive point?
What are the areas that the data suggests we have done a good job in?
Is there a trend in the data that suggests we are doing something well?
What are the opportunities to improve?
The main reason that we look at data is to make some kind of improvement to the situation that we are analyzing. As we look at course data as it relates to EOC scores, we need to focus on where we can make improvements. To analyze the data with regards to finding areas for improvement, consider the following questions:
Is there a trend in the data that suggests we have an area to improve on?
Where in the data do we see the lowest levels? Most times this is where we need to focus our improvement efforts.
What are the next steps?
Once we have identified the areas on which we need to improve, a plan needs to be put in place. The plan that is derived needs to be focused on the data. When considering your next steps, consider the following questions:
Does the plan address the concerns of the data?
Does the plan have a set timeline and performance measurements that can be compared to the data?
Can the plan be carried out in a timely manner so that future data will be affected by the plan? Make sure that any plan will be implemented prior to future semesters so that any gains or decreases can be measured.