Establishing A Culture of Data in Schools
Establishing a culture of data is important for the overall growth and sucess of a school, and education data is more than assessments. Data rich schools value the influence data has on improving teacher instruction, student learning and the overall environment. A data rich culture can help to guide curriculum development, assess effectiveness of instruction, make determinations about resource allocation, and measure student progress. Data is also vital to a school maintaining its vision.
The vision of any school applies to how students grow and succeed in the school environment. School data can include formative assessments, summative assessments, attendance, sociocultural elements, student behavior records, or other pieces of evidence. Data that is continuously collected helps drive schools toward projected targets and goals. But, educators must be data literate. Mandinach & Gummer (2016) define data literacy as "the ability to transform information into actionable knowledge and practices by collecting, analyzing, and interpreting all types of data (p. 367)".
Leadership can help to promote and maintain a culture of data literate educators by establishing a data team responsible for supporting teachers towards becoming more data literate and promoting inquiry cycles. Inquiry cycles allow teachers to work collaboratively as knowledgeable professionals towards a collective action based on data/information available to them on their students. With a strong data culture, teachers will become stronger and students will be empowered to review their progress, and build a sense of agency that will help them understand what is necessary for their progress.