I have to say, I actually like data, even though I’m not always sure how to interpret it or what to do with the information. This book, however, brought data to life from the perspective of school leadership: How can I put data to work in my school? How can I use this as a tool to enhance teaching and learning?
Although my school site has a long way to go, I was grateful to Data Wise for giving a path to follow and sane advice and strategies along the way. Starting in January, I will be leading monthly staff meetings regarding data and instruction so I am eager (and a bit apprehensive) to see where the conversations lead us…
Q: “Attitudes towards data vary widely in schools. There are plenty of “data skeptics” who believe either taht student assessment data cannot tell them anything they do not already know or insist that such data can be manipulated to support whatever story the teller wishes. Typically, there are also some “data advocates” who believe that student assessment results contain the answers to solving student learning problems and that finding these answers in just a matter of becoming better at data analysis. In reality, student assessment data is neither this weak nor this powerful. The real value in looking a this kind of data is not that it provides answers, but that it inspires questions.” p. 77
C: This is a rather long quote but it hits on two things that stood out to me about Data Wise in general:
1. People’s attitudes about data must be acknowledged and probably will be one of the most challenging aspects of working with data.
2. Data is neither a blessing or a curse, but is ONE improvement tool that can be used in beneficial or shallow ways.
Q: My school site is more linear and traditional than HTH. I’ve been asked to lead a monthly professional development meeting (30 minutes!) to help staff help students improve test scores. I know that the heart of our staff is actually interested in helping students be successful learners but I feel like we don’t have a culture to talk about student success unless we are talking test scores. How do I get my staff to embrace the prospect of discussing data while simultaneously trying to create an environment about genuine improvement and not scores or teacher “worth”?