Over the last decade, I’ve had the opportunity to facilitate an awful lot of data dialogue inside of many different schools with many different kinds of teachers and leaders. These are some worthwhile reflections that are giving me pause as I continue moving the teams I’ve established forward:
- Some educators distinguish themselves as data-driven and others distinguish themselves as data-informed. Others don’t distinguish themselves in any particular way. Distinctions are critical. So is language. So is vision. Why?
- Because those who call themselves data-driven often approach quantitative data as information that tells them something. They look to data for answers.
- While those who distinguish themselves as data-informed often explore varied measures of data to establish hunches relevant to what it suggests. They look to data for pathways toward deeper inquiry.
- And those who do not distinguish themselves in any particular way often exhibit frustration or even a lack of confidence in their abilities to use data to inform practice or in the power of data to make any kind of difference. Some are data shy. Others are data skeptics.
- Data-driven, data-informed, data shy, and data skeptical educators often assume that everyone is speaking the same language, valuing the same kind of data, and using it in similar ways.
- Sometimes groups assume that quantitative data are the only data that matter and that there is only one approach for using data to inform instruction.
- Once groups move beyond initial meetings and surface level analysis, their assumptions begin to unravel a bit.
- Unless those assumptions unravel, the team will struggle to use data in ways that inform instruction, empower their practice, AND ensure that interventions are engaging and meaningful for kids.
- Many practitioners don’t think of interventions as something that can be engaging and meaningful for kids, but I’m finding that unless they are….they don’t work.