FHI 360 engages school teams in collaborative, ongoing inquiry around student performance using a range of internal and external reviews of students' work and other sources of data, including student work products, grades, test and quiz results, reading assessments, standardized test scores, attendance, behavior information, health/wellness indicators, and indicators of student engagement. Review and analysis of the data result in planning and differentiation of instruction and student supports, teachers' professional development, and the strengthening of school operations to support teaching and learning. It also provides evidence of a school's overall progress and effectiveness, as well as individual student learning and achievement. See FHI's ISIS (below) to see a how we have successfully launched a school improvement framework that brings the importance of student data tracking to the forefront.
ISIS (Indicators for Success: Interventions and Supports for Middle Grades Students)
ISIS, which stands for, Indicators for Success: Interventions and Supports, is FHI's middle grades school improvement framework that helps schools and districts reverse the dropout trends by keeping all students on the track to success. To do this, ISIS promotes the implementation of a middle grades early warning/student data tracking system to immediately identify students who are falling off track to success. Once identified, at-risk students are matched with appropriate supports and interventions to get them back on track, better positioning them for a successful transition from eighth grade to high school, a critical component of overall high school success. The ISIS framework puts the wealth of early indicator research (by Balfanz et. al., from Johns Hopkins University) into practice. Because a high percentage of high school dropouts send distress signals as early as the middle grades, the research explains that schools and districts can identify sixth graders that have a 75% chance of dropping out of high school by looking at four simple indicators: attendance, records of low level behavioral infractions, English/language arts grades, and math grades. When middle grades students are off track in any of the four indicators, and supports are put in place to help them get back on track, schools can dramatically improve their chances of graduating from high school. Obviously, the longer schools wait to target these students, the less likely their efforts will be successful. Using these success indicators, the ISIS framework, guides schools through a five-part process of:
- Implementing school structures necessary for addressing individual student needs.
- Analyzing data around the indicators to identify students in need of supports and interventions.
- Designing tiered supports and interventions in each of the four indicator areas.
- Matching off-track (or at risk) students with appropriate supports and interventions - a process FHI 360 calls root-cause analysis.
- Continually analyzing data to be sure students are moving back on track.
FHI's ISIS technical support includes:
- Working with school or district administrators to plan for ISIS implementation within the existing support systems and district initiatives.
- Conducting a needs assessment to determine strengths and challenges of existing systems and structures for supporting ISIS.
- Helping to create a data collection plan using existing district and state data collection systems that has the capacity to generate illustrative charts and graphs that provide a quick comparison of students across grade levels and by other subgroups of interest (e.g., overage students; English language learners, etc.).
- Working with school-based teams to evaluate existing supports and interventions to determine what shows evidence of effectiveness, and where new programs and supports will need to be identified.
- Guiding administrators and teacher teams through the process of analyzing the student ISIS data.
- Sharing protocols and systems for matching students with the most appropriate systems and supports.
- Introducing and supporting the implementation of systems of accountability that help teacher teams and school administrators monitor student progress and the effectiveness of specific interventions and supports.
FHI 360's ISIS support includes a set of tools and resources that coaches and school leaders can use to guide school teams in the work; a series of workshops and institutes that bring school-based teams together with larger networks of teams; and school-based workshops and on-site coaching.