Swimming in the Depths

Educators’ Ongoing Effective Use of Data to Guide Decision Making

Authored by: Leanne R. Bettesworth , Julie Alonzo , Luke Duesbery

Handbook of Data-Based Decision Making in Education

Print publication date:  October  2008
Online publication date:  April  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415965033
eBook ISBN: 9780203888803
Adobe ISBN: 9781135890841


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Educators are awash with data. Classroom teachers calculate student grades using the data they collect: attendance, participation points, test scores, and homework completion. School administrators track different data in their daily work: discipline referrals, average daily attendance, school budgets, and expenses related to extracurricular programs. At the district level, data are more departmentalized: with the Personnel Department calculating salaries, benefits packages, and retirement accounts; those in Instruction tracking expenditures on curricular materials and professional development, and Special Services keeping tabs on students receiving additional assistance, completing annual reports to document compliance with a variety of laws. With all these data, one might expect to find educators confident in their data acumen. Sadly, the opposite is more likely to be the case. As a public spotlight is focused on AYP-based school performance data, teachers and administrators all too often are caught floundering in the depths, as waves of data threaten to drown them.

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