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Data-based decision making in improving education : an assesment of data use by secondary schools teachers in Dodoma Region, Tanzania

Mnyasegna, Hawa (2014) Data-based decision making in improving education : an assesment of data use by secondary schools teachers in Dodoma Region, Tanzania.

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Abstract:Schools have a variety of data in place. The data can be used by teachers to improve planning and implementations of their duties as teachers as well as the school activities. However, most of studies on data use are based on developed countries, with very few from developing countries. The purpose of this study was therefore, to explore the kinds of data, its purpose, as well as factors promoting and hindering its use by heads of schools and classroom teachers in Dodoma Region, Tanzania. This study has been based on a theoretical framework showing factors hypothesized to influence data use in organisations. The study used multiple case study design to explore data usage in four schools, two ere high data user and two low data user schools as determined by previous analysis. A total of 14 respondents, 7 from each group of high data use and low data use schools were purposively sampled, among which were 4 heads of schools and 10 classroom teachers. To answer the research questions, qualitative data were collected using semi-structured interviews. Instrument reliability was ascertained through piloting and research expert reviews. Validity of data was realized by triangulation and audio recording of all interviews and then transcribing and writing reports that were then taken to respondents for member checks for internal validation. External validity was realized using specific and cross-case thick description of the cases, Qualitative data obtained from in-depth interviews analyses were analysed on an ongoing process as themes and sub themes emerged. The inter-rater reliability check was conducted before the commencement of analysis of the interview data, and the interview reports were analysed using Weft QDA software that allowed coding of themes and sub-themes in line with the theoretical framework and research questions. The study established that the two groups of schools under study have similar input, process and outcome data available. Process data were dominant in both the groups. Most of the data were used for school development, followed by data use for instruction. A very few data were used for just parts of accountability purposes. The study revealed further that the heads of schools used data mainly for school management purposes while classroom teachers used data that were directly involved with students’ welfare and academic progress. The study showed that data use in developing countries can be different from those from Western countries in terms of data literacy, the role of governments in education system, as well as school environment. Although the factors promoting and hindering data use in high data use and low data use schools were different, there was no difference between data use practices between these groups of schools, because teachers and heads of schools lacked data literacy and they never attended any professional training on data use, and the concept of data and data use in schools were completely new to them. In addition, the study results suggested that teachers used intuitions to make most of their decisions, and they sometimes practiced unintended use of data. Therefore, the differences between high data use and low data use schools were mainly in terms of school leadership, availability of facilities and teacher qualification and attitudes. The study recommended that the government needs to invest on both long and short-term professional development training on data and data use in schools and teacher training institutions as a way to promote the quality of education. The inspectorate division needs to be strengthened to enhance standard settings and school quality checks. Future studies also need to take into consideration of the role of government policy, school environment, teacher qualification and motivation, as well as teachers’ personal attributes as possible factors that may promote and hinder data use in the context of schools in developing countries.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
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