Empowering Educators to Make Data-Informed Decisions: A District's Journey of Effective Data Use

Empowering Educators to Make Data-Informed Decisions: A District's Journey of Effective Data Use

Margie L. Johnson (Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3188-3.ch009
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Abstract

With increased accountability in education, resources are being invested to ensure educators have access to a computerized data system. Data access is one component of data-informed decision making. This chapter shares one district's journey toward developing and implementing the data-informed decision-making ecosystem as a guide for empowering one school district's educators to use data, no matter the source, for making informed decisions. Not only might leaders benefit from the implementation lessons learned, but they may also benefit from the implementation tools, such as the teacher data use survey (TDUS) and the school district's innovations configurations map (IC Map) for collaborative inquiry, which supported the work.
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Introduction

Educational reformers challenge schools to improve the academic achievement of all students, especially by closing the achievement gaps among diverse student populations (U.S. Department of Education, 2011). This increased focus on school accountability has escalated the expectations for educators to use data as a lever for improving schools (Jimerson & Wayman, 2015; Love, Stiles, Mundry, & DiRanna, 2008; Means, Padilla, DeBarger, & Bakia, 2009). Therefore, districts have been investing resources to enhance educators’ abilities to access and use data for supporting student outcomes.

Educators have always used data, but oftentimes in disparate locations, or data silos. Districts experience difficulty in making informed decisions when data are stored in different places (Mandinach & Jackson, 2012). Therefore, a first step toward empowering educators with making informed decisions is to build or purchase a centralized, computerized data system (Hamilton et al., 2009).

Centralized data access is one component of making informed decisions. Another aspect is building the capacity of educators to use data for making informed decisions. The Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) hired a Business Intelligence Coordinator for this role. The purpose of the chapter is to provide an overview of the district’s journey toward developing and implementing the Data-Informed Decision Making Ecosystem as a guide for empowering MNPS’ educators to use data, no matter the source, for making informed decisions. The following information is covered in the chapter:

  • Background information that led to the development of the data-informed decision making ecosystem;

  • Aspects of fostering a data use culture, including conducting a needs assessment, development of the data ecosystem, and balancing and implementing the ecosystem; and,

  • Practical application regarding the implementation of the ecosystem.

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