The intervention occurred in five school districts in the United States: Boston, Massachusetts; Chelsea, Massachusetts; Springfield, Massachusetts; Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; and Chicago, Illinois.
Although the unit of assignment was schools, and the intervention was geared toward teachers, eligible outcomes were measured for students. 21,335 students were included in the analyses of the ELA outcome and 21,258 students were included in the analyses of the Math outcome. 62% were in grades 3-5 (elementary school), 38% were in grades 6-8 (middle school), and 87% were eligible for free or reduced price lunch.
ANet focuses on improving teacher use of data in order to improve both teaching and learning. It is a data-based instructional program with four key components: (1) quarterly interim assessments aligned to state content standards in English language arts and math for Grades 3 through 8; (2) data tools such as reports on individual student progress; (3) school leader coaching to support teacher use of assessment data to improve instruction; and (4) a peer schools network for joint professional development and sharing results. Prior to the beginning of the school year, ANet works with the intervention schools or districts to align their assessment tool with the existing "curriculum and curricular scope and sequence." Throughout the year, there are scheduled coaching visits and assessment administration meetings focused on reviewing data and action planning. During the school year, students are given quarterly interim assessments. These interim assessments are "the core source of data to inform teachers' instructional decision making." Results are provided within two business days to teachers and school leaders and meetings are head to discuss results, identify gaps in learning, and formulate plans for action. ANet works with school leaders throughout the year, coaching them to build capacity to support teacher implementation of data-based instruction al practices. The program model "focuses on strengthening leaders' engagement with interim assessment data and their prioritization of the use of data to inform instruction." As part of the program, school leaders are supposed to build school-wide cultures of achievement, develop the skills and practices of their teachers around instructional data use, manage the data cycle, and reflect on school and student progress, making changes when necessary. A data leadership team is formed, which is normally comprised of the school leader (usually the principal), the assistant principal, and a content-level or grade-level instructional leader. This team is coached by an ANet coach and provides data leadership for the program.
Schools in the comparison group were on the wait list to receive the intervention in the following year. However, there were no restrictions for the comparison schools in terms of using other programs. All of the comparison group schools administered interim assessments in some subjects or grades. The educators in the comparison group schools likely received some kind of data-related support.
Support for implementation
Schools in the intervention condition received coaching and other support from the ANet program both before and during program implementation. Before the school year begins, ANet works with districts or schools to align the ANet interim assessments (which will be given to the students during the school year) with the school's existing curriculum and curricular sequence and scope. ANet coaches also make visits throughout the year. For example, they work closely with school leaders (usually principals) to build capacity to support teacher implementation of data-based instructional practices. They also meet with the data leadership team, which consists of the school leader, the assistant principal, and a content-area or grade-level instructional leader. ANet coaches assist schools with planning both before and after the interim assessments are completed by the students.