Survey: Data use key, but many challenges

Two national surveys of high-level district administrators reveal ongoing concerns with the difficulties of implementing data-driven practices in schools across the U.S. “Trends in Data-Driven Instruction,” and “Trends in Professional Development Around the Use of Data” indicate that while school administrators recognize the increasing educational value of data analysis, there remain many obstacles to its use.

Highlights from: “Trends in Professional Development Around the Use of Data”

* About 90% of administrators believe that assessment data will be the primary driver of what teachers teach, how they teach and who they teach within the next four years
* Identifying students at risk of failure, differentiated instruction and identifying students just missing proficiency are the 3 primary reasons for data analysis
* While most administrators believe that collaboration in the use of data is important, many report that their teachers and administrators often work on data in isolation.
* High quality professional development for teachers and administrators around the use of data is perceived as essential but currently lacking
* The most effective way to get teachers to embrace the use of data is for them to see other teachers using data and being successful

Highlights from: “Trends in Data-Driven Instruction”

* Data-driven instruction is more important than ever in an era of declining budgets
* While textbooks are likely to be the primary delivery method for instruction over the next 5-10 years, free web-based resources are rapidly gaining support and credibility
* Immediate scoring and detailed diagnostic reports are the most important features when evaluating assessment programs
* Technology has been useful in increasing student performance, but high cost and teacher training remain obstacles
* Logistical challenges and teacher resistance have been the greatest challenge in implementing assessment programs

The surveys were conducted by LinkIt!, in collaboration with education non-profit TERC, Using Data.