- More than 90% of teachers report using data — test scores, graduation and absenteeism rates, and behavior in the classroom — to understand how their students are progressing, according to the Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) first-ever survey of teachers’ views on data.
- But the results, released Wednesday, also show that more than half of the 762 K-12 teachers responding — 57% — say they don’t have enough time during the school day to dig into students’ data, and more than 40% placed most of the responsibility for creating time to work with data on principals and district leaders.
- This year was the third time DQC asked parents about using data to understand how their children and their children’s schools are doing. Since the first parent poll in 2015, the percentage of parents saying they want teachers to use data to support students’ learning has increased from 90% to 95%, alongside an increase in the proportion of those saying they trust teachers, counselors and principals to use the data appropriately.
Teachers have had to become data experts in recent years, especially with the shift toward personalizing learning to target students’ individual strengths and weaknesses. But in addition to feeling pressed for time, teachers also express other barriers to making the most of the data available to them. For one, not all data is equally useful. In a survey released last year by ACT, teachers said that school assessments, special education data and district assessments were the most useful, while student, parent and teacher surveys were the least helpful in making data-informed decisions.
Only about a third of the more than 8,000 teachers surveyed, however, said they had participated in professional development on how to use data. Those who did participate said that learning how to use data to plan lessons was the most useful. More than two-thirds, however, said they had access to someone in their school or district who would be considered a data expert. Some teachers responding to the DQC poll also felt there is too much data to sort through, and that the data they need is not available in a timely enough manner to be useful.
Last month, DQC also released a "data literacy" resource for school administrators, which states that school leaders should “take the lead on deciphering what data is important and how it is being collected and generated.” The document also notes that becoming data-literate is a “career-long” process, not a one-shot training.