So you’ve put together an assessment, administered it to all your students, marked and graded each one, and have now gathered a list of all the students’ results by individual skill. Now what? How should you effectively use that data to guide your instruction? Looking at data, analyzing it and implementing tailored solutions can seem lengthy and time-consuming but it is an essential part of the process when making decisions about individualizing your instruction.
Data-Driven Decision Making: Organizational Changes
Data-driven decisions are also best supported by infrastructure and policies to support them. So there may be some organizational changes you’ll want to consider. We’ve outlined some here.
1. How data is managed
You’ll want to create a data system or improve your current one to effectively collect, transfer and manipulate information. Adjusting data access and management practices to different people in the school can help to ensure timely delivery and this can improve the likelihood of data being used.
2. Understanding of findings
You don’t need to be a super genius with spreadsheets at all, but the ability of staff to create plans for analyzing scores and understanding the results may require some support. Training may be needed on best data practices, data analysis and accessibility or data management. Overall, you should make sure that data can be accessed easily by the people that need to access it, which can involve making sure data is presented in a user-friendly format and in an accessible place.
3. Create a culture where data use should be evident
To facilitate data use, you’ll want strong leadership and systems of accountability. You could have policies that outline data use requirements or incentives for using data, or even a formal plan for its use. But by encouraging data sharing, you can help to promote a culture where staff should reflect on data together, and support them in doing this by allocating time and resources for analyzing data and using it.
Although many educators now have access to a lot of data at their fingertips, it’s crucial that decision makers know the benefits and limitations of data, the data they should be familiar with to improve their decision making, and how that data can effectively be used for successful decision making.