Data-Based Decision Making

Data is a term frequently used in education. The terms data-based decision making and data-driven decision making are also often used. But what is data and what decisions are driven by this data? Merriam-Webster (2015) defines data as “facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something”.   The key to using data wisely is to identify the “something” that will be analyzed or planned before actually starting to gather the data.

Schools make many decisions that require analysis of high-quality, rich data. Such decisions inform strategic planning, school zoning, resource allocation, teacher assignment, and instructional practices. According to Earl and Katz (2006),

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Data and Learning Connections for Families and Students

Schools have access to an abundance of instructional assessment data, which teachers and administrators analyze to make informed instructional decisions. High-quality assessments are integral to the teaching and learning process and can help:
  • teachers collect meaningful data,
  • students know where they are in relation to learning targets, and
  • families understand their child’s academic progress (Goodrich, 2014, p.2).

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