Maximizing Student Success: A School Principal’s Guide to Using Data-Driven Performance Reviews for Instructional Decisions

As a school principal or lead administrator, performance reviews are an essential tool for assessing the effectiveness of the school’s educational programs, identifying areas for improvement, and making informed instructional decisions. In this blog post, I will discuss how to perform quarterly performance reviews using student data to make instructional decisions.

KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are metrics used to measure an individual's performance or school-wide measure of success.

Step 1: Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

The first step in performing a performance review is to identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will be used to assess student progress. KPIs should be aligned with the school’s academic goals and objectives and should be measurable, specific, and relevant to the subject being taught. Some examples of KPIs for math could be the percentage of students meeting or exceeding proficiency on standardized tests, the number of students completing math assignments on time, or the frequency of student engagement during math class. If you haven’t started using the Standard By Standard Tracker, check this document out.

Standard Tracker

Step 2: Collect and Analyze Data

Once KPIs have been identified, the next step is to collect and analyze data to evaluate student performance. Data can come from a variety of sources, including standardized test scores, teacher assessments, student surveys, and classroom observations. Analyzing data involves looking for patterns and trends in student performance, identifying areas of strength and weakness, and making comparisons between different groups of students.

Step 3: Collaborate with Teachers

School leaders should collaborate with teachers to discuss the data and its implications. Teachers are on the front lines of education and have a wealth of knowledge about their students’ strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. By collaborating with teachers, school leaders can gain insights into how to tailor instruction to better meet the needs of their students.

Step 4: Make Instructional Decisions

Based on the data analysis and collaboration with teachers, school leaders can make informed instructional decisions to improve student performance. For example, if data shows that a significant number of students are struggling with fractions in math, the school could implement a new intervention program or provide additional professional development for teachers to improve their instruction in this area.

Step 5: Monitor Progress

Performance reviews should be an ongoing process. After making instructional decisions, school leaders should continue to monitor student progress and evaluate the effectiveness of their interventions. This will allow for adjustments to be made as needed and ensure that the school is continuously improving its educational programs.

Example of KPI Spreadsheet

  1. Open a new Excel document and create a new sheet for each subject area (e.g., math, reading, science).
  2. Create column headings for each KPI you want to track, such as “Percentage of Students Meeting Proficiency by State Standard,” “Number of Students Completing Assignments on Time,” and “Math Fact Fluency (record grade level).”
  3. Create a row for each quarter of the school year (e.g., Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4).
  4. Enter the data for each KPI in the appropriate cell for each quarter.
  5. Create a chart to visualize the data and track progress over time.

Here is an example of what the Excel format could look like:

Math KPIsQ1Q2Q3Q4
Percentage of Students Meeting Proficiency by State Standard60%65%70%75%
Grade 3: State Standard: 3.160%
Number of Students Completing Assignments on Time80%85%90%95%
Math Fact Fluency – 3rd gradeGL 2.0GL 3.1GL 3.5GL 4.0

By using an Excel format to track KPIs, school leaders can easily monitor progress towards academic goals and make data-driven decisions to improve student performance.

Example of a KPI Powerpoint Dashboard- FREE TEMPLATE

If you prefer a Powerpoint Dashboard, I have created that template as well. It connects to Excel, but it often gives a more “presentable” format to non-excel users.

Copy of Powerpoint Template Quarterly Review

Copy of Powerpoint Excel Linking File

Battery Template to Display Quarterly Data


In conclusion, performance reviews are a critical tool for school leaders to assess the effectiveness of educational programs, identify areas for improvement, and make informed instructional decisions. By using student data to evaluate performance, collaborating with teachers, and making ongoing adjustments to instruction, school leaders can ensure that their students receive the best possible education.

Stephanie McConnell

Stephanie McConnell

I’m Stephanie, and I’m the face behind Principal Principles. I’m a former principal turned educational consultant, presenter, and edupreneur. I’m obsessed with giving school leaders the tools they need to lead a successful school.

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Hi, I'm Stephanie

Hello friend! Welcome to Principal Principles. I’m Stephanie, and I’m the face behind Principal Principles. I’m a former principal turned educational consultant, presenter, and edupreneur. I’m obsessed with giving school leaders the tools they need to lead a successful school.


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