School Improvement in Maryland

Key Understandings For CFIP

These key understandings will help school teams use the Classroom-Focused Improvement Process (CFIP) to improve teaching and increase student learning.

Data Sources Resources:


There are several sources of data that should be incorporated into the Classroom-Focused Improvement Process (CFIP):

  • State and national external data result from standardized assessments that are developed by the Maryland State Department of Education or testing companies, scored outside of the school, and usually administered once a year. Examples are the Maryland School Assessment (MSA), the High School Assessment (HSA), the Stanford 10 Achievement Test, and the PARCC assessment.
  • Benchmark assessment data are frequently and systematically collected across a grade level or content area (often across a whole school system) at several predetermined times throughout the school year. Benchmark assessments may be developed by school districts, textbook publishers, or testing companies and are scored either centrally or at the school.
  • School or grade-level common assessments are developed and scored by teachers in a school who teach the same subject or course and are administered at several pre-arranged times during the year.
  • Classroom assessments are ongoing; unique to each teacher; and can include formal tests and quizzes, homework, oral reports, notebook checks, presentations, and projects, in addition to more informal interactions between teachers and students during instruction.

The data most valuable for accountability purposes and the data most valuable for the improvement of student performance are not the same. In fact, they are completely opposite.

Hierarchy of Data for School Accountability

Hierarchy of Data for the Improvement of Student Performance

The contrasting data hierarchies make clear that there is a continuum of data usefulness, depending on the source of the data and their intended purpose.

Data Use Continuum

Note: The article "Data Processing Using CFIP" is posted with the written permission of the publisher, Principal Leadership (NASSP).