Strengthen Your Classroom with Student Data

Strengthen Your Classroom with Student Data: A Practical Guide of New Ways for Educators to Improve Results by Joanne Caniglia, Justin Gates, Joseph Giancola, Linda Paulus, 2017 (Professor and adjunct professors at Kent State University)

This book began as a journal that chronicled our professional development activities in Kent, Ohio to strengthen classrooms by using student data. With the original focus on student progress, we discovered other elements that were missing. Thus, we expanded our scope to include interventions, differentiated instruction, and progress monitoring in each classroom. Our first priority always was impact on students by helping every teacher.

We decided later to adapt the journal into a book of best practices of data analysis for all K-12 educators. We believe that student data can help everyone.

Measuring student progress does not stand alone as a best practice in education. In fact, it exists in a school context of other elements of success. As large as the number of these variables may be, we isolated four that must interact for data analysis to be successful:

  • Response to Intervention (RTI),
  • Differentiated instruction,
  • Value-added analysis (VAA) of student growth
  • Continuous progress monitoring with STAR Reading and Mathematics.

Our journal tells us that all four elements must be present to successfully change teaching and learning. Furthermore, all four elements must be employed repeatedly in a recursive cycle of interaction and school change, graphically depicted below.

Our book is published by Wheatmark, Inc. See for more details. Inquiries about our research may be sent to






Background of Authors

From left to right: Joanne Caniglia, Justin Gates, Joseph Giancola, and Linda Paulus
Joanne Caniglia, Ph. D., earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics at John Carroll University and her masters in mathematics at Youngstown State University. She was a secondary teacher and department chair in Niles and Akron, Ohio for 12 years and spent time as a graduate researcher at Kent State University, where she received her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Mathematics Education. She taught for 14 years at Eastern Michigan University, where she was Professor of Mathematics Education. While there, she was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Governor's Award for Distinguished Teaching. Her research activities include creating meaningful mathematical tasks to assist secondary and special education students. Her areas of expertise are differentiated instruction and the education of minority students, underrepresented populations, and students with disabilities.

Justin Gates, Ph.D., earned his three education degrees at Kent State University, where he specialized in special education and administration. He currently serves the Kent City School District as the Director of Student Services. Previously, he served the district as Stanton Middle School Principal and as an Intervention Specialist for elementary and middle school students with disabilities. He also served the Barberton City Schools as a middle school principal and special education coordinator. In both Kent and Barberton, his middle schools achieved “Excellent” ratings. Outside of K-12 public education, he is an adjunct professor of administration and special education at Kent State University. His main area of expertise is the legislative and judicial context for related services of students on an Individualized Education Program (IEP). His research continues in this area, the topic of his doctoral dissertation.

Joseph Giancola, Ph. D., earned his three degrees at Kent State University, where he specialized in educational administration and the Superintendency. He served the Kent City School District as the Superintendent for 7 years and Assistant Superintendent for 14 years. Prior to that, he taught in Ohio public schools for 15 years and served as a high school principal, for a total of 36 years in public education. Outside of K-12 public education, he is an adjunct professor of educational administration at Kent State University during the summer and a part-time instructor at Hillsborough Community College in Florida, where he currently resides. His main areas of expertise are budgeting and school finance, the topics of his doctoral dissertation. In addition, his other areas of expertise are music education, theory, and composition. Finally, his work as Kent’s School Superintendent culminated in Ohio Department of Education’s highest rating of “Excellent with Distinction.”

Linda Paulus, Ed. Specialist, earned her Education Specialist degree at Kent State University. These studies followed her master’s degree at Georgia Southern University and a bachelor’s degree at Armstrong State University. She currently serves as the Director of Data Analysis of the Kent City School District. Prior to Kent, her work as an administrator included Curriculum Director at the Rootstown Local School District in Ohio, for a total of 12 years of administrative experience. Her professional expertise also brought her to diverse settings, including the inner city in South Georgia and two hours north of the Mexican border in Texas. She has been a public school teacher throughout the central and eastern United States, including Ohio, Texas, and Georgia for 13 years. In total, she has served public school students for 25 years. Her areas of expertise include all core curriculum areas of teaching. She also is an expert in value-added analysis of student data. Her work in progress monitoring of student results is unsurpassed and reflected in the district report cards of the Kent City School District and its “Excellent with Distinction” rating.