Creating the Profile
In this first phase of the Continuous Improvement Process, you and your staff will collect and analyze data to create a comprehensive profile of students, communities, the school, and/or the district. Equity and diversity are the lenses through which you will examine these data to create a profile.
The profile will include information about:
- student and community demographics, including all subgroups;
- student performance and behavior by subgroup;
- stakeholder perceptions about student differences; and
- local practices and programs that address equity and diversity.
By the end of this phase, you will have addressed each of these questions.
- Have we disaggregated data to examine achievement among subgroups (e.g., English Language Learners; students with disabilities; students of different socio-economic status, race, and gender; high-ability learners; dropouts)?
- Have we disaggregated data to examine possible disproportional placement of students identified in subgroups in special education?
- Have we disaggregated data to examine possible disproportional application of discipline procedures to students in subgroups?
- Have we identified predominant personal beliefs among school personnel about equity and diversity?
- Have we identified characteristics of our school culture related to equity and diversity?
See the Resource section of this guide for a variety of information and tools to help you create your profile. The following types of resources will be most useful during this phase:
- Research and Theory
- Videos and Films
There are four data sets that you need to collect in order to create your profile. Worksheets to help you collect and organize your data are provided in Appendices B, C, D, and E.
Data set 1. Demographics
Demographic data relevant to equity and diversity can include the following information. Use the worksheet found in Appendix B to record your data.
- Numbers and percentages of student groups by ethnicity, language, gender, and other characteristics collected by the state or district at the individual student level.
- Numbers and percentages of students (disaggregated by ethnicity, language, gender, etc.) who participate in programs such as ELL programs, special education programs, gifted and talented programs, and Title I programs. At the secondary level, data can include disaggregated data about students who participate in Advanced Placement programs, career and vocational programs, and other academic opportunities.
Data set 2. Student performance data
Student performance relevant to equity and diversity can include the following information, disaggregated by student subgroup. Use the worksheet found in Appendix C to record your data.
- Academic performance in major content areas
- Grade retention
- High school graduation rate
- High school dropout rate
- Behavior (e.g., discipline referrals, attendance, honor roll, leadership clubs)
Data Set 3. Perceptual data from selected stakeholders
It’s important to collect data on teacher, staff, student, and parent perceptions of equity and diversity. Perceptual data should include information about school culture and personal beliefs about student, parent, and community diversity. Perceptual data can be collected through surveys, interviews, or focus groups.
A useful tool to help you determine which questions to ask is the Equity Audit Statements found in Appendix D. Schools and districts that need additional equity audit resources will find a wealth of tools in Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders, by Randall B. Lindsey, Kikanza Nuri Robins, and Raymond D. Terrell (3rd edition, 2009, Corwin Press).
Use the worksheet found in Appendix E to summarize your findings.
Data Set 4. Information about current school policies, practices, and programs
We know that a positive classroom climate and school learning environment are critical to the successful achievement of every child. It is important to examine policies, practices, and programs to ensure that they address the needs of all children. This data set will build awareness of those policies, practices, and programs that support equity and diversity. Use the worksheet found in Appendix F to describe the equity and diversity climate and learning environment presently in place.
Now that you’ve gathered the four data sets, it’s time to organize the data so you can make decisions. The following questions can guide decisions about how to share data with your stakeholders (i.e., teachers, staff, parents, community members):
- How should the data be displayed? What data are best suited for charts and graphs? What data are best suited for narrative descriptions in text or tables?
- How will results be shared with stakeholders? Where? When? By whom?
- Are all data communicated appropriately with regard to confidentiality and privacy issues?
Present the data to your staff and/or stakeholders. Data can then be analyzed and interpreted to answer the question, “What do the data tell us about our strengths and challenges as they relate to student equity and diversity in our school or district?”
One step-by-step process for engaging staff and other stakeholders in reflecting on and analyzing data consists of the following:
- Participants review the data over the course of a few staff meetings or during a day designated for this purpose. This is a hands‐on process that allows staff to familiarize themselves with the data and discuss it in small groups.
- Small groups write narrative statements and, if possible, create graphic representations of data, reflecting the strengths and weaknesses they have identified.
- The whole group prioritizes the narrative statements based on the importance of the data to the overall improvement of school or district performance relative to equity and diversity.
- The whole group or a designated small group creates a summary report (the profile). Sections of each profile should appear in the same order; i.e., demographic information first, followed by student performance data, perceptual data, and program data.
Data analysis assistance can be provided by staff members of Educational Service Units and the Nebraska Department of Education.
Use the chart below to review the work you have done to create your profile. Have you forgotten any steps? If not, you’re ready to set your goals.
PROFILE CHECKSHEET for
EQUITY and DIVERSITY in SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLANNING
Demographic data has been collected to gain a picture of the student population.
Data sources have been examined to determine how students perform on norm-referenced tests, curriculum-referenced tests, and classroom assessments.
Data has been collected from stakeholders to identify their perceptions of equity and diversity in the school.
School policies, practices, and programs have been examined to identify existing efforts to support equity and diversity.
The analysis of data from all four categories (demographics, student performance, perceptions, and programs) has identified strengths and challenges.
Positive trends for celebration have been identified.
Needs for school improvement are emerging.
A method has been put into place to share our school profile with the staff and other stakeholders.