Analyze Data

Analyzing data is essential to effective school improvement planning. Teams must undertake an intense process of self-study and reflection that includes a thorough analysis of all data. In brief, this process is meant to answer two questions:

  • Why isn't the school "working"?
  • What can be done to help it improve?

Conducted correctly, the review of data should yield fair and useful answers to these questions.

Data analysis includes:

  • Looking for patterns, trends, associations, and interrelations among data collected
  • Organizing and finding meaning in a large collection of data
  • Presenting data in ways that allow for easy interpretation

To improve a school or district, student, teacher, administrative, parent, school, district, and community level data must be analyzed. The process of examining and analyzing data allows identification of very specific areas for improvement.

Examples of places that use data to support improvement efforts


Center for School Improvement Leadership Institute

Making Data Work for You is an AFT course that helps educators become savvy consumers of data. Developed jointly by the AFT, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals (RIFTHP), Toledo Federation of Teachers (TFT), and United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the course is designed to provide participants with the language, knowledge and tools to make informed changes—individually and collaboratively in teams—on a number of fronts. For more information, email the Center for School Improvement at

AFT’s School Self-Study Guide
This guide includes a list of questions and examples of data that school study teams must analyze to identify a school's specific problems and potential solutions.

School Audit Process
This is a more exhaustive self-study guide, provided by the AFT.