About the Award

The David Clune Award for Data Analysis and Educational Excellence is a successor program to our acclaimed Partnership in Learning Grants.  The purpose of the Clune Award is to recognize exceptional achievement in data-based research that supports student learning and drives educational excellence.


The Clune Award reflects ERB’s commitment to excellence in education through the collection and analysis of assessment data documenting student reasoning ability and learning achievement. It is named for David F. Clune in honor of his leadership as President of ERB from 2004 to 2017.



Recent Winners


The 2019 David Clune Award for Data Analysis and Educational Excellence has been awarded to Trinity Christian School in Fairfax, VA for their project on Bridging the Achievement Gap. Trinity Christian School incorporated CTP data into the process by which they identify students who might need psychoeducational testing and student accommodation plans.  Their Study Hall programs created by the Learning Center, the deployment of the National Institute of Learning Development therapy program, and the identification of appropriate accommodations in testing were each carefully targeted to the students who would benefit from those interventions.  The positive impact on student learning as a result of interventions was measured by change in CTP scores from 2015 to 2018.


Honorable Mentions

Academy of the Sacred Heart, New Orleans, LA 
Received a 2019 Honorable Mention for their project titled “Project Build.” Academy of the Sacred Heart shared their project-based learning focused on enriching STEM education title “Project Build.”  Since 2017, they have given students an opportunity to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills with projects that are both meaningful and enjoyable.  They developed a multi-faceted assessment of learning impact that includes but is not limited to examining percentage content mastery in CTP mathematics.  The results indicate the effectiveness of the project-based learning program. 


The Kinkaid School, Houston, TX 

Received a 2019 Honorable Mention for their project “Teaching and Assessing Disciplinary Literacy Skills.” The Kinkaid School incorporated critical thinking/historical reasoning skills into their 8th grade curriculum while also assessing the impact of the Reading Like a Historian program.  They found a relationship between CTP reading scores and outcomes on the assessment of historical reasoning and those scores underscore the transferability of skills from one setting to another. 


Lake Highland Preparatory School, Orlando, FL

Received a 2019 Honorable Mention for their project “The Validity and Reliability of CTP Data for Math Placement Decisions.” Lake Highland Preparatory School formalized the validity and reliability of CTP data for accelerated math placement decisions.  Their work carefully examined the impact of accelerated math on student learning from grade 3 through high school graduation. 




Application Requirements



The Clune Award is open to all ERB members in good standing. Any ERB member school or organization, or any consortium of schools or organizations (including at least one ERB member) working on pooled data may apply. 




2020 application deadlines are coming soon!




Applications for the Clune Award should demonstrate how data analysis projects support student learning and further educational excellence. Examples of data analysis projects may include:


  • Connecting assessment data to student performance.
  • Connecting assessment data to admission decisions.
  • Introducing professional development programs or curricular changes that are responsive to lessons learned from assessment data.

These examples are only intended to illustrate some of the types of projects that the Clune Award supports. Application projects are in no way limited to these categories. The Clune Award is broadly conceived as a way of recognizing and publicizing excellence and creativity in applying data to effectively support student learning.


Conciseness is encouraged in all applications, compatible with a full explanation of the work and its implications. Applications should identify:


  • The issue or question that gave rise to the project.
  • The methods by which the project was conducted, and how the data was assembled and analyzed. A technical paper, if one was produced, may be submitted in conjunction with the application.
  • The principal conclusions from the project.
  • The actions taken, programs initiated, or changes instituted in response to the project findings, if any.
  • Any plans or initiatives with respect to follow-up data collection and analysis.

Award Process and Announcement of Winners

ERB’s decisions are final and binding in all matters, including interpretation of the application guidelines as well as the identification of winners. Clune Award winners agree to ERB interviewing them as well as featuring their project on the ERB website and in other promotional materials.



Past Recipients and Honorable Mentions

Congratulations to past recipients of the ERB Partnership in Learning Grant and David Clune Partnership in Learning Grant! Your dedication to your students and community is truly inspiring.




2018 Recipient

Lisa Kelly, Data Analyst and Program Director for Pathways; Jim Callis, Head of School



Mt. Bethel Christian Academy (MBCA) undertook a multi-year process that began with identifying how they expected their students to perform on ERB's CTP compared to students at other independent schools. They identified a number of skills they wanted to improve, then asked their teachers to focus on two of these skills each during the coming academic year. They equipped their teachers with ERB's definition of these skills as well as strategies for teaching and practicing these skills in the classroom. Teachers then devised their own curriculum to emphasize these skills and collaborated with one another to determine what strategies seemed to work and what strategies didn't.


In every year following the program's inception, MBCA has seen improved student scores and increased collaboration across grades and subjects. Teachers have embraced their yearly skill improvement goals as personal missions and are creative and purposeful in making curriculum changes that directly impact student learning. The school continues to create opportunities for teachers with common goals to discuss strategies as well as forums for teachers to ask questions about test results and the testing process in general. In 2018 their impressive CTP scores even contributed to their designation as a National Blue Ribbon School, an honor currently awarded to only 49 other private schools across the nation.


In offering this inaugural Clune Award to MBCA, ERB commends their treatment of CTP results as a diagnostic but never a driver. We believe they have created an achievable and sustainable model for educational excellence that deserves careful consideration elsewhere. 


Read Full Submission



2018 Honorable Mentions



Matt Stokes, Mathematics Curriculum Coordinator; Katie Rogers, IB Coordinator



International School of Brooklyn (IBS) follows the IB curriculum and gives instruction in various subjects in a controlled mixture of a target language (French or Spanish) and English. Students in Grade 4 and 5, for example, receive math instruction in both their target language classroom and in an English language classroom. In analyzing their CTP Mathematics scores, ISB discovered that mathematics performance dipped consistently between Grades 3 and 5 and that students taking mathematics in Spanish and English accounted for the entirety of that decline. Further investigation showed that the distinguishing variable was student ability rather than language track or teacher. The students with the lowest national norm scores also showed the most significant decline between Grade 3 and 5.


ISB began using CTP in Grade 6 and found that the trend continued into the middle school years. The realization that the school was not effectively serving students in the middle and lower ranges of mathematical ability led to a new effort to build a horizontally and vertically aligned structure and pedagogy for mathematics across the English, French, and Spanish language classrooms. In short, their CTP analysis led to the adoption of the school’s first mathematics curriculum.


Read Full Submission



Amanda Tagna, Test Coordinator; Deb Sampey, Middle School Director



Latin School of Chicago places a great deal of emphasis on using student assessment to communicate student growth and performance, drawing on the eight-step model outlined in Data Wise: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Assessment Results to Improve Teaching and Learning, edited by Kathryn Parker Boudett, Elizabeth City, and Richard Murnane, the school draws on CTP testing, the Grade 6 Learning Profile Screener, intelligence and achievement tests completed by a panel of school psychologists, and middle school grade reports to create a comprehensive profile of each student and each class. Among the reports prepared, are growth reports tracking the progress of each class cohort, and multi-year reports on content mastery within each grade level used to identify areas of strength and concern in the curriculum. Using these reports to pinpoint areas of focus, Chicago Latin has seen several domains of relative weakness become areas of strength between 2015 and 2017.


Read Full Submission



Audrey Holsten, Academic Dean; Julie Ellison, Head of Lower School



Porter-Gaud’s narrative begins with a deep truth, “Doesn’t most meaningful change start by asking the hard questions?” The hard question at Porter-Gaud was examining the sources of a persistent pattern in which lower school division students performed at less-than-desired levels in Number Sense and Procedural Knowledge compared to other independent school peers. Their examination of CTP Mathematics scores in Grades 3 - 8 displayed this relative weakness with only gradual improvement over time. Looking deeper into CTP’s content strands, they identified relatively low percent content mastery in Grade 3 and 4 for Operations with Whole Numbers and Operations with Fractions and Decimals, as well as in the process areas of Conceptual Understanding, Procedural Knowledge and Problem Solving.  Perhaps of greatest concern, the same need for a stronger foundation in Number Theory became apparent when they looked at math PSAT results for Grades 10 and 11.


To address this, Porter-Gaud began having “number talks,” conversations aimed directly at improving number sense and mathematical fluency, three times a week in Grades 1 - 4. Porter-Gaud also adopted quarterly math assessments, including an internally-developed mathematics benchmark test focused on number and procedural sense, to help create fluid student groupings for these number talks. In addition, Porter-Gaud is piloting an Instructional Rounds initiative with a mathematics focus and is beginning a curriculum mapping project. This kind of commitment to excellence does indeed require one to ask the hard questions, marshal the data necessary to answer these questions, and then act on the insight made possible by this analysis. 


Read Full Submission 


2017 Co-Recipient


The Banner School, Frederick, MD 



How are they using their Grant?


The Banner School is using grant funds for building and maintaining an outdoor conservation classroom. It will be used for learning about plants, farming, and water quality in the Maryland area.



2017 Co-Recipient


Grymes Memorial School, Orange, VA



How are they using their Grant?


The Grymes School will use grant funds to purchase additional acreage to further develop a wildflower preserve and fund additional science curriculum activites related to the preserve. 



2017 Honorable Mention


The Advent School, Boston, MA



How are they using their Grant?


The Advent School will use grant funds to extend a successful SEL curriculum for Pre-K through Grade 6.



2017 Honorable Mention


St. Catherine's School, Richmond, VA



How are they using their Grant?


As a girl's school, St. Catherine's desires to increase knowledge and interest in computer science and engineering, not only at St. Catherine's but within the local community as well. They will use grant funds to develop this program with stipends for a pilot support team, free pop-up maker spaces at community events, free workshops for middle school girls throughout Richmond, and a mentor lunch series.



2017 Honorable Mention

Saint Stephen's & Saint Agnes School, Alexandria, VA



How are they using their Grant?


Saint Stephen's & Saint Agnes School plans to use grant funds to support thier "Green City Design Challenge" science program. This program provides students with a valuable project-based learning opportunity in which they explore real-world topics of city sustainability in a creative, collaborative, and issues-focused way. Funds will be used to attend a science conference in Barcelona where students would participate in video and virtual reality production projects that further explore sustainable city design.



2017 Honorable Mention

Carolina Day School, Asheville, NC


How are they using their Grant?


Carolina Day School plans to use grant funds to drive more focus to inquiry-based, student-driven learning. They are building a woodworking shop to support this type of learning.


2016 Grant Recipient


St. George's Independent School Collierville, TN



How are they using their Grant?


Watch Video


Robotics acts as a perfect conduit to teach students computational thinking while also teaching them the necessary skills in coding, science, and engineering. 


St. George’s Independent School currently has a coding curriculum that begins teaching coding to junior kindergarten (four year olds) with simple Dash and Dot robots, programmed on iPads. These skills are enhanced and expanded throughout middle and upper school to include a focus not only on programming, but designing and building robots as well. Middle school has a new class this year, Inquiry, Innovation, and Invention (I3). This is a two year class beginning in seventh grade that is based on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). This year juniors and seniors were offered an Engineering Design and Robotics class, and all upper schoolers are invited to participate in the robotics club. In class, or as extracurricular activities, the programming and engineering design of robotics trains and expands creative problem solving, critical assessment, and computational thinking in an applied skill set. Students matriculate from grade to grade adding computational skills to a well-documented defined scope and sequence.


Academic departments are encouraged to work together and maximize interdisciplinary opportunities so students can see subjects in different lights. The lower school learning specialist used robots for students in a book club to illustrate how the mouse in The Mouse and The Motorcycle zoomed from place to place. There was only one robot but each student group had a set of code to write that made the robot drive past the cat or rev his engine. It was an innovative way to help students learn code, and become more engaged with reading in a disciplined of literature where kids are not expecting gadgets and technology. 

2016 Honorable Mention

(In no particular order)


Mount Vernon Presbyterian School Atlanta, GA



How are they using their Grant?


Mount Vernon Presbyterian School wants to disrupt the traditional teaching model by taking students outside of the classroom and exposing them to more complex, real-world problems. The expeditionary learning program will teach traditional school subjects in unconventional, yet more relevant, ways thereby increasing student engagement and achievement.


Mount Vernon Presbyterian will use Grant funds to cover the operational costs of an expeditionary learning program including gas, public transportation fees, and journaling supplies for student observations. They will also use funding to buy four small, Bluetooth printers so that students can print pictures for their observation journals while in the field.

2016 Honorable Mention

(In no particular order)


The Latin School of Chicago Chicago, IL



How are they using their Grant?


The Latin School of Chicago has made tremendous strides in its mission to a be ... "a community that embraces diversity of people, cultures and ideas." In pursuit of this mission, the school's students and faculty began a formal partnership with the Chicago community of Uptown in the summer of 2012. This Uptown Partnership quickly developed into a curricular cooperative and a model for true community engagement in which student's immersed themselves in hands-on service and witnessed first-hand the impact of their service.


The school will use Grant funds to continue this partnership by purchasing laptops for the Uptown community. The laptops would be used for after-school classes in coding, Java Script, music making, and website design as well as ACT/SAT tutoring. In May 2017 Chicago Latin secured a building in Uptown are to specifically for cross-community programming efforts. Funds would also support fee waivers as part of an innovative admissions outreach program in the community.

2016 Honorable Mention

(In no particular order)


Louise S. McGehee School New Orleans, LA



How are they using their Grant?


As an all-girl school, Louise S. McGehee knows they are charged with the unique task of combating the message society has given women for hundreds of years—your first priority is the care and keeping of others and your dreams must always come second. Louise S. McGehee wants their students to experience the joy of creating and achieving a dream. Because dreams should always come first.


The school will use Grant funds to purchase LINX explorer kits with which students will design and build environmentally friendly tiny homes. Students will learn about math and angles as they build perfectly pitched roofs and meticulously measure each piece of wood. This cross-curricular project, will promote confidence as students watch a dream to life.

2016 Honorable Mention

(In no particular order)


Harding Academy Nashville, TN



How are they using their Grant?


Harding Academy’s mission is “to educate and inspire children to become thoughtful, creative, lifelong learners who are self-disciplined, responsible, caring citizens”. To that end, the school created its Innovation Lab (iLab), a maker-space available to all grade levels in which students can prototype and share ideas in an atmosphere that celebrates experimentation.


Harding Academy will use Grant funds to purchase a modular synthesizer for their iLab. They will develop a program around the synthesizer as an innovative way to complement their language arts program. Because sound is emotive, humans instinctively relate sounds to feelings. A heartbeat, a siren, the rain falling on leaves—all conjure emotions and can be used to teach comprehension. The synthesis of sound can also give struggling readers a “voice” that they can manipulate to represent understandings of texts. 

2016 Honorable Mention

(In no particular order)


TMI - The Episcopal School of Texas San Antonio, TX



How are they using their Grant?


Over the last several years, TMI - Episcopal School of Texas has created a beautiful Outdoor Education area. The area has nature trails, a small creek, fruit and vegetable gardens, a pasture with native grasses, a flock of chickens, and even bat houses to attract natural pest-control helpers. Despite this bucolic setting, growth in the garden is stunted due to acidic soil that is high in nitrates, probably because of run-off from other school facilities and properties that utilize fertilizers and pesticides.


The school will use Grant funds to purchase equipment that students will use to measure the extent of the soil pollution in their Outdoor Education area. These measurements will inform a plan of action to restore balance to the soil as well as allow students to experience the effects of pollution first-hand. With this program, TMI hopes to inspire students to become lifelong conservationists.