The Principal Role in Data Driven Decision Making: Using Case Study Data to Develop Multimediator Models of Educational Reform
Using data gathered as part of a previous case study of urban schools across the U.S., the authors use simulation methodology to specifically examine the principal’s role in effective data use. The authors identify key principal actions supporting data use in these schools, which included: (1) formulating goals that are specific to the needs of the school and community; (2) providing time for teachers to discuss data, flexibility for reteaching, and curriculum and material resources to support DDDM; (3) building human and social capital in the form of building the knowledge and skills of teachers; and (4) creating a climate of trust and collaboration and a culture of data use.
Similarly, the districts supported their school’s effective data use by:
Formulating appropriate districtwide student learning goals
Providing structural supports for data use (e.g., district wide assessment, data management systems, protocols to use in data meetings).
Building human and social capital among teachers
Promoting a culture of data use and trust
Key teacher actions included:
Formulating classroom learning goals
Analyzing student achievement data and collaborating with colleagues to engage in joint action planning; and changing instruction based on data.
Study findings and conclusions reinforce the need to consider data use systemically, from the actions of the district through those of the principal and school leaders to the teacher and student.