Organizing data-collection activities, goals, and analysis into a coherent work plan can help make using data a more manageable practice. A technique that can make a school-data project more effective is to apply the work plan to a calendar. In this way, details of the process are organized and transparent, and you can clearly decide when to make any necessary revisions to the plan.  Once you have established the details of the data-use process and developed a timeline can, you’re ready to create a visual work plan calendar.

Use a toolkit template that best meets how you plan to map out when activities and assessments will take place, identify points in the process or project when particular outcomes should be met, and, when needed revisions need to be made. You can modify all templates to fit your plan specifics.

Before mapping out your work plan on a calendar, choose an appropriate approach for the task, project, or issue identified at your school and articulate the following:

  • Goals
  • Data-collection activities
  • Data-analysis methods
  • Expected outcomes and indicators for progress

These work plan details will help guide calendar-planning decisions:

Goals: Are multiple goals involved in the process? If so, they can take place at different points. For example, if various data collection activities are involved, goals for which types of data to collect may occur at different times in the process. 

Data-collection activities: Include as many data-collection activities as needed to result in the desired results. For example, if you are looking at collecting student work, you can identify times of year when particular artifacts are available (i.e., daily homework versus exit project work).

Data-analysis methods: Depending on the information you expect to elicit, analyzing data can be a simple task or complex. It is important to consider the types of methods, resources, and time it will take to look at data to make decisions.

Expected outcomes and indicators for progress: Aligning outcomes and indicators with the goals and activities can help determine points in the process when revisions need to be made to the plan. If revisions are necessary, subsequent information laid out on the calendar can be modified to clearly indicate potential changes in activities and assessments, personnel roles, and time adjustments (e.g., process can be shortened/ lengthened, need more time allotted for data collection).

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