A Principal’s First Priority

Posted on April 5, 2013

Eighty-five percent of principals believe their first priority is using student performance data to improve instruction [1].  They firmly believe that using information allows teachers to target their skills in order to unleash student potential.  There’s just one problem…

The Closing the Gap initiative surfaced a fact that we’ve found particularly troubling – a majority of teachers find their systems are actually barriers to using data in the classroom [2].
In Closing the Gap: Turning SIS/LMS Data into Action, 55% of the top teacher complaints about Student Management Systems are directly related professional development – or the lack thereof.  It’s almost like these systems are thrown in at the district level and no one takes faculty needs or training into consideration.  And then we wonder why we’re having trouble driving actionable student performance data into the classroom.

Barriers to LMS Implementation

When it comes to Learning Management Systems, the feedback is pretty consistent – system usability inhibits utilization.  It’s just too hard to use.  Teachers cite things like “No shortcuts – every time I run a report, I have to repeat too many steps” and “Systems settings/content are too ‘One Size Fits All’”.

Eleven years ago, Primavera started with off the shelf systems.  In the early days, we used free programs.  After a few years, we moved to BlackBoard.  Over time, we realized the multiple platforms were preventing us from delivering important, student level information to our teachers.

Since 2010, we’ve used a home grown LMS.  Since 2011, we’ve used a completely unified system that hosts our curriculum, facilitates student engagement in that curriculum, and helps administrators AND TEACHERS use the information that’s gathered to best improve student performance.

Our partner through all of this has been FlipSwitch and, through FlipSwitch, this unified platform is available to schools outside of Arizona.  For your copy of the reports featured in this post, click here.


[1] Metlife Survey of the American Teacher.

[2] Closing the Gap: Turning Data Into Action.  Information available at http://www.turningdataintoaction.org/