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Data-based decision making in primary education : an exploratory case study

Kippers, Wilma (2014) Data-based decision making in primary education : an exploratory case study.

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Abstract:Teachers and school leaders make a lot of decisions about the education they provide, which influences the effectiveness of the education at their school. Schools can improve their effectiveness by making data-based decisions. This means that school leaders and teachers analyze data and base their decisions on data. Data can be used to provide evidence for the effectiveness of their education, because data show whether student learning needs are addressed and teaching should be adapted. In order to support schools in secondary education with the use of data for decision making, the data team method was developed. A data team consists of five to eight teachers and school leaders that use the data team method to try to solve an educational problem within the school. This can lead to educational improvement and professional development. This present study describes an exploratory case study. The perception of school leaders, data experts and teachers about the comprehensibility, usefulness, and added value of the data team method for the use in primary education are studied. In addition, the school organizational characteristics for working with the data team method in primary education are studied. Therefore, workshops were given to three primary schools by a trainer of the University of Twente. By giving workshops, the data team method was explored in the primary schools and the school organizational characteristics of the primary schools were studied by using observations, focus-group interviews, and individual interviews as data collection. The results of this study are positive towards the use of the data team method in primary education. According to the respondents, the method was found comprehensible, useful and added valued to be used in the primary schools. However, it is important that trainers guide data team members in depth in formulating a concrete and measurable hypothesis (step 2), in understanding and applying the concepts reliability and validity to check the quality of data (step 4), and in analyzing data (step 5). Time given by trainers and school leaders to data team members is also essential. When starting with a pilot of primary schools next school year, it is important that the role of the school leader, the data expert and the coordinator in data teams in primary education will be studied in depth, because their role might be different compared to their role in data teams in secondary education. The results of this study showed that the school leader might not need to participate in data teams in primary education, but should facilitate and discuss the progress of the data team. Data experts and coordinators might have an important role in guiding and teaching data teams next to the guidance of trainers. The results about the school organizational characteristics ‘school culture’, ‘innovation attitude’ and ‘prioritizations’ are consistent with using the data team method in secondary education. This research might be of use to primary schools, which would like to start with a data team, as it will provide them with insight into the important characteristics for working with the method. Further research should explore, for example, the different functions of the school leaders, data experts, and teachers in a data team in primary education. In addition, the collaboration between data team members during the trajectory of the method in primary education can be studied. Furthermore, the professional development of data team members when using the data team method in primary education can be explored.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/66641
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