The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Rural Working Group hosted this free national webinar highlighting research on using student achievement data to improve instruction in rural schools and districts.

For more information, please contact:

Kenwyn Derby

(415) 615-3279

WEBINAR (archived): Achievement Data and Instructional Decision Making in Rural Schools and Districts

September 13, 2011

Online: See archived session!

Play the archived webinar (1 hour, 7 minutes)

Since the passage of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) a decade ago, schools and districts have faced increasing pressure to use student data to evaluate and modify instructional practices and monitor student progress. However, many teachers and other educators have not been trained in how to most effectively use data to inform instructional decision making. This can be especially true in rural settings, where resources and expertise to support data analysis are limited.

In this webinar, Dr. Ellen Mandinach, co-author of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Practice Guide Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making, provided an overview of the critical issues related to data-driven decision making. She presented the Practice Guide’s five evidence-based, practical recommendations and engaged in a moderated discussion with panelists representing rural stakeholders regarding the implications the recommendations hold for rural schools and districts. Each panelist provided real examples of his or her experience implementing one of the recommendations. The event provided participants an opportunity to understand the research behind the recommendations and to submit online questions about applying the recommendations to the unique challenges and opportunities found in rural settings.


  • Vicki Hornus, Moderator; Vermont State Liaison, REL Northeast & Islands (REL-NEI) at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)
  • Gary DePatis, Panelist; Superintendent, Greenview Community Unit School District #200, Greenville, Illinois
  • Lisa Plimpton, Panelist; Director of Research, Mitchell Institute, Portland, Maine
  • Carole Urbano, Technical Moderator; REL-NEI at EDC


Dr. Ellen B. Mandinach, Senior Research Scientist in the Evaluation Research Program at WestEd and part of the REL West at WestEd team, is a leading expert in understanding data-driven decision making in educational settings. A co-author of the featured Practice Guide, she is the lead investigator on a set of projects conducted across all the RELs to address pressing issues around data-driven decision making. She is co-author of Data-Driven School Improvement: Linking Data and Learning and Data-Driven Decision Making: Helping Educators to Use Data to Inform Practice. Mandinach has served as President of the Division of Educational Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA), as well as Program Chair for the American Educational Research Association (AERA). 


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Do you want to know the latest research or where to turn for information? This free collaborative service from the 10 RELs provides references, referrals, and brief responses to education questions. To ask a question, visit the national portal and select REL West -- or directly.

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