Data Protocol:
Here's What, So What, Now What

This post will:

  1. Address the need for protocols to use data effectively

  2. Outline an effective protocol for use in any school

  3. Offer an example scenario of using the protocol with standards based report card data

  4. Share free-to-use template of Here's What, So What, Now What Data Protocol

Why use data protocols?

Using a data protocol in a group setting can inform a productive conversation, allow for differentiation, and pave path for action planning and next steps.

Data protocols can:

  • Allow the group to slow down and fully understand what we are looking at

  • Give everyone a voice

  • Provide direction and guidance for insights

  • Include opportunities for action planning and find ways to do even better for our students!

Here's What, So What, Now What Data Protocol

Facts and Observations

Starting with specific facts or data, Data observations, and/or Data notables.

  • What do we notice?

  • I can count ....

  • ***Avoid because/Therefore

Interpretations of the Data

Now that all the facts are laid out, we can discuss how the data fits with our thinking.

  • Why do we think this happened?

  • Offer questions/wonderings to explore

  • I Think … I feel … I wonder …

Plan of Action

Finally we will end the protocol with action plans:

  • So what are we going to do?

  • What questions should we explore next?

  • What can we do together to address what we have learned?

Example Scenario of Protocol

Standards Based Report Card Data

Let’s go over an example:

After report cards are in there is a great opportunity to visualize data and allow it to inform productive conversations about our students, our learning outcomes, and our assessment practices. By engaging in a collaborative “Here’s What, So What, Now What!" data protocol, groups of teachers can use the data to spark conversations and create learning action plans together.

First we should go over the Norms and Purpose:


  1. Take an inquiry stance

  2. Assume positive intentions

  3. Ground statements in evidence.


  • Explore how students perform against strands on the report cards.

  • Identify ways to use student work to better understand strand proficiencies and improve student learning.

Great! Now that we have our norms and purpose let's move onto the Here’s what section of the protocol. This section can be the most challenging part of the protocol as it is easy to make quick judgements about what we see. The importance of this part of the protocol is to make sure we identify all the facts and fully understand what the data is telling us.

Let's do it:

Here's What - (Refer to data dashboard below)

Start with some private think time (2-4 Minutes)

Dig into the what (dashboard below) by making factual observations

  • I observe that …

  • I notice …

***Avoid “I wonder”, “Because/Therefore”

Discuss what we noticed (2-4 minutes)

The first things we need to make sure we do when looking at new data is make sure everyone understands what we are looking at, what the colors mean, and how to understand the facts the data is presenting.

In the video I noticed the following things in Math:

  • Exponents and communication have the most beginnings

  • Fractions and linear equations have the most "achievings"

  • Geometry has the most approaching results

Notice how I don't jump to conclusions or explain why the data might look like this.

What do you notice when exploring the data?

So what?

Read the questions below and allow for some private think time before sharing and discussing (2-4 Minutes)

  1. How do these student results fit with (y)our thinking with what we see in the classroom and know about our students?

I feel …

  1. What questions do you have related to how students are performing that you and your team(s) may explore?

I wonder …

  1. What led to these results? What led to the success of students that received exemplary and how do you know?

I think …

Discuss Interpretations of the data (2 Minutes)

As we reflect on the questions above that help guide our thinking, we notice that the data corresponds closely with our observations.

The data makes us wonder how we might better support students in the area of exponents and reasoning. We also may consider the ways that made students successful in fractions and linear equations.

We might ask questions about what led to these results and wonder what we could identify as areas of growth by looking at student work and improve rubrics.

Now what?

Read and discuss the following prompts as well as the supports your teams might need:

  1. You might examine student work and calibrate your understanding of proficiencies (i.e., major, minor, rubrics).

  2. You might adjust future assessments based on your calibration of student work and rubrics

  3. You might look at future units to address student needs based on past student work and performance

Now what? Discuss a plan of action

Based on what we learned we can now make a plan of action.

After looking at the prompts and possible outcomes of looking at the data today we can decide to look at students work in the area of communication and reasoning.

Student work is the source of this data and by looking at it together at our next meeting we can improve rubrics, gain clarity of what achieving looks like, and identify learning needs with student work as our evidence.

Use the “Here’s What, So What, Now What” data protocol Template.

Make a copy of the google doc template, make a copy, and adjust the questions to fit your context and data.