What does it mean for districts to be 'data-driven,' anyway?
- Despite the ongoing discussion around the benefits of "data-driven" instruction, there remains a disconnect as to what that means and how to go about accomplishing it, according to an eSchool News article by IO Education's Peter Bencivenga and Amy Jackson.
- The duo write that becoming data-driven requires a significant amount of careful thought and planning to get started and to maintain this direction.
- A successful data-driven approach requires data to be accessible and presented in more than a static report, with "whole student" data located in one place and the fostering of a "data culture" across all departments.
As data analytics have become more prominent in schools and districts over the past decade, so too has the idea of "data-driven" decision-making and instruction. While these practices can be beneficial, administrators and classroom teachers must also remain cognizant that data can't show them everything going on with a student as a human being. Weighing that information is as critical as ever.
Data are also helpful if they are easy to access and use. As a result, a call for greater data interoperability has risen in the past year. Simply put, if educators are still having to gather data from multiple siloed platforms and crunch the numbers themselves for useful analyses, was the promise of saved instructional time that were sold really being delivered? And can that data truly be put to use at the "right time," as it needs to be in order to maximize its effectiveness? To make the most of a data-driven approach, districts must, as Bencivenga and Jackson write, demand that "whole child" data be accessible in a single location, making that as much a priority as privacy and security to deliver the most benefit to students.
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