Texas Focus, Vol. 1, No. 4 (2008): Collecting, Interpreting and Using Data in the Working Systemically Approach
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Data is a critically important element throughout the Working Systemically approach. Data collection, interpretation, and use—as well as other processes in the approach—are typically led by a stable team of leaders within the system. This team comprises district and school leaders, including teacher leaders. The team is often assisted by an external facilitator, from an outside intermediate agency, who is very familiar with the Working Systemically approach. The entire group is charged with the task of collecting, interpreting, and using data in order to bring about needed improvements in the system.
The first two phases of the Working Systemically approach involve understanding and analyzing the system. In these phases, the outside facilitator collects and analyzes specific data in order to gain clear insight of the system’s people, processes, and status, and to plan for the work ahead. The facilitator shares this analysis with the leadership team. They work together to collect and interpret data throughout the remaining phases, monitoring implementation and assessing impact along the way. Meanwhile, the competency of collecting, interpreting, and using data is one that is continually developed as leaders work with the change facilitator and participate in the systemic improvement work.