Book Review

Data-Driven Instructional Leadership

by Rebecca J. Blink, Eye on Education, Larchmont, N.Y., 2007, 125 pp. with index, $29.95 softcover

In the NCLB era, Rebecca J. Blink’s book, Data-Driven Instructional Leadership, offers a concise how-to approach to implementing an instructional system that relies on student assessment data to drive continuous improvement.

Victoria Bernhardt, who is executive director of the Education for the Future Initiative and a professor at California State University, Chico, is credited with developing the conceptual framework for the Data-Driven Instructional System model that Blink explores. The model focuses on data collection in school districts in four categories: demographics, perceptions, student learning and school process. Each category receives its own chapter with a step-by-step process, specific examples and implementation strategies to move a school district from data collection and analysis to translation of the information for use in school improvement.

Blink profiles, in a highly readable, case-study approach, two school districts that use the DDIS model. Their focus is on reading and math. In both districts, staff members ask: What do we want students to learn? How will we know whether they learned it? What will we do differently if they haven’t learned it?

The author identifies the four keys to successful use of the model — purpose, focus, communication and coordination, and follow-through. Blink concludes by giving detailed results on how the model resulted in improved student reading and math performance.

Her book, including its excellent appendices, is an excellent resource to assist school and districtwide teams in improving student learning.

Reviewed by Diane E. Reed, associate professor and co-director of educational leadership program, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, N.Y.