Our school makes data-driven decisions, and we are committed to continuous program improvement. We see these claims frequently made in accreditation self-studies and in marketing pieces, and yet reality is often very different.
In many cases, decisions are made out of emotion or “gut feeling” or personal preference. Data are often never examined much less analyzed. If school districts are fortunate enough to have on staff a data or assessment expert, teachers and school leaders often feel as though their responsibility is dissolved and simply expect that assessment staffer to review and analyze data for annual reports to the state or federal government. Many school personnel fail to grasp the value and the necessity of actively using data to make curricular and instructional decisions.
In this Age of Accountability through standardized high-stakes testing, it is imperative for educators and administrators to not only accept, but to embrace, the role of data in daily classroom decision making as well as in planning for an entire school year–in other words, on both micro and macro levels.