Formative Feedback and the New Instructional Leadership

WCER Working Paper No. 2007-3

Richard Halverson, Reid B. Prichett, and Jeffery G. Watson

May 2007, 30 pp.

ABSTRACT: Formative feedback systems live at the heart of systemic school improvement efforts. Without accurate and timely information on the results of intended interventions, school leaders and teachers fly blind in their efforts to link what they expect to what actually happens in their schools. This paper draws on the results of a 5-year National Science Foundation–funded study of how school leaders create socio-technical systems to help teachers work with student achievement data. In this paper, we argue that formative feedback systems are networks of structures, people, and practices that help teachers and administrators translate testing data into practical information for everyday use. We illustrate the framework with an elementary school from our study to show how staff designed and used socio-technical processes to make data-driven decisions about student learning.

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keywords: Instructional Leadership; Data-Driven Decision Making; Accountability Policies