The ability to analyze data is a very important part of being a teacher. There is data for everything a student does during their career as a student. It is using this data to make the school and the students better that is the problem.
A group of aspiring superintendants attended a conference where they were discussing data and ways to use it effectively. Before the conference the superintendants read an article talking about sending teachers with high achievement rates to places that have lower achieving students. They thought this was a great idea and said that was the first step in making schools better.
Educators should be wary of allowing data or research to substitute for good judgment. When presented with good data it is still very important to ask good questions. You have to ask yourself what the costs and benefits will be. According to the author of the article: “Data-driven decision making does not simply require good data; it also requires good decisions.”
I strongly believe that just because a teacher is effective at one school will not necessarily make him/her effective at another school. I know that if a school was sending their teachers away to other schools, I would do my best to stay away from that school. I also believe that instead of simply relying on data to make decisions, good questions are needed. If someone presents a great idea that is going to make all students achieve to their fullest, you have to ask how much this is going to cost and if it is expensive, will anyone want to use it?
Becoming familiar with data and learning to love it is a huge part to becoming a successful teacher. A lot of teachers fear data and do not use it as a resource to help them teach better. Since George W. Bush brought the No Child Left Behind act into action, schools are swimming in data (especially in the area of standardized testing).
Districts and administrators are trying to help teachers become more familiar with data by basically coaching them. Being coached on data helps them become less overwhelmed and makes them more able to use it in a way that will make them better teachers. The best way to deal with data, however, is to become a coach themselves.
I think it is very important for teachers to “love” data. The more they understand data the better teachers they will be. I know there is so much more to teaching than collecting and analyzing data, but it helps. According to the author of the article administration needs to facilitate three essential changes in how teachers approach data: 1) Realize that data include more than end-of-year standardized test scores. 2) View collecting data as a way to investigate the many questions about students, teaching practices, and learning that arise for any committed teacher. 3) Talk with one another about what data reveal and how to build on those revelations.
At a school in California, a group of students are asked about their teachers grading policies and syllabi. After talking to the students they learned that there are different grading policies going on within the school system. Teachers in this school are admitting that they need to stick to a certain grading policy and stick to their syllabus. This article explains in great detail that students can help adults improve schools. By the students telling the teachers and administration how they learn better and how they want grading and syllabi policies ran, the school can better suit the students and in the long run make them achieve higher.
What Schools Can Learn From Student-Driven Research
According to the authors of this article: “Students can effectively research substantial problems in education such as student and teacher engagement, safety, racial segregation on campus, relationships between the school environment and student apathy, and teachers grading and assessment policies and practices.” This quote shows that students can play a HUGE role in the development of a school. Sometimes teachers and administration can’t delve deeply into problems because they do not know what is going on. If you ask the students what they would like to see changed they will tell you honestly. This research done by the students is pointless unless teachers and administration take these students seriously.
I believe that student-driven research is very important to a successful, smooth-running school. The students know what they want to see happen in the schools. It’s up to the administration and teachers to see that these changes can take place. I believe that if this is done more often, students will achieve higher and find schools safer to attend.
Overall, collecting data is a very important and very useful tool in helping teachers perform better and making schools better in general. These three articles touch on different aspects of data and the way it is collected. I think the best way to collect data is directly from the students within the schools. Student-Driven data seems to me to be the best and most accurate data. Whether or not the administration will do this is something we will see in the future. When I become a teacher, I will not be afraid of data. I will embrace it and use it as a means to become a better teacher. I believe the possibilities are endless!