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In the last quadrant of the data cycle, we assess student outcomes. This just means that we find out if students are learning – and if they are learning enough. There’s no limit to the number of student outcomes measures around. The most familiar ones are state test scores. But there are also things like graduation rates, or other targets that your school or district has set. You can see examples of some common “outcomes data” questions here.

The important thing is: you and your local community define success. Then you collect the data to see if your school has met that definition of success. And the outcomes, or results, become the baseline for the next year.

It’s important to remember that any one part of the cycle is meaningless by itself. It’s going through the whole cycle that brings about actual change. Usually people stay on the left-hand side of the cycle. But all this results in is a reporting system. If you want change, you have to build up the data you receive on the right-hand side of the cycle and make an effort to keep moving from one to the next. Because if you want to move forward, you have to look at all of the data first.