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Data-based decision making in the school environment : a study on data use in Indonesian primary schools

Abdusyakur, I. (2015) Data-based decision making in the school environment : a study on data use in Indonesian primary schools.

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Abstract:Many studies underline the use of data for school improvement. However, studies on data use are predominantly based on developed countries, with very few from developing countries. A literature survey revealed that there had been no scientific studies concerning data use in Indonesia. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate data use in Indonesian schools. This study was based on a conceptual framework focusing on kinds of data, purposes of data use and factors promoting or hindering data use in schools. The research questions were answered with a sequential explanatory mixed methods research design. In the first phase, the study used a descriptive research leading to a survey of teachers and heads of schools. A total of 60 schools consisting of 194 teachers and 28 heads of schools participated in the survey. Based on the analysis of the survey, six schools were purposively sampled as critical cases which are three high users and three low users in each of the purposes of data use (for accountabillity, school improvement and instruction). The purpose of categorizing the schools was because the high data user schools were expected to provide an understanding of suitable situation to promote data use, while the low data user schools were supposed to provide the understanding of factors hindering data use. In the second phase, the study used a multiple-case study approach using document analysis and semi-structured interviews of (2) teachers and (1) heads of school in each of those six schools. Data from the multiple-case study refined the descriptive statistical results of the survey by discovering respondents’ perspectives in more depth. The results from this study were generalized to the conceptual framework and provide in-depth evidence of phenomenon of data use in Indonesia. Regarding the kinds of data available, the study determined that Indonesian primary schools had similar and a lot of kinds of input, process, outcome, and context data available. With regard to the purposes of data use, the study set out to determine that most data was used for accountability purposes. These findings might be accounted for by the government trying to counter-balance the schools’ autonomy, demanding the schools to fulfill the required types of data, so that the focus of data use seems to be more on accountability than on school development and instructional purposes. Furthermore, findings of the study proposed that the four factor characteristics influenced differently between the high data use and low data use schools. The differences were mainly in terms of school leadership, collaboration, accessibility and quality of data. However, the study results revealed that teachers and heads of schools lack data literacy skills and they never received any professional development training on data use, so that they might practice unintended use of data or do not use data at all. With regard to the extent of which factors did influence data use, the study concluded as follows. First, data use for accountability was mainly influenced by external policy characteristics. Next, data use for school development was influenced by school organizational characteristics and external policy characteristics. Finally, data use for instruction was mainly influenced by data characteristics. The study of data-based decision-making in schools was a complex process. Future studies should take into consideration other possible factors such as the role of government, supervisors, parents and students, as well as an extended conceptual framework and methodology in order to anticipate unexplained context and to get the actual rationalization of how teachers and heads of schools exercised the data for decision-making. Finally, the study recommends that Indonesian government invests more in a reliable information system and professional development training on data use as a method to enhance the use of data for school development and instructional purposes. In addition, the supervisors need to give more feedback about the data regarding the school functioning and teaching practices rather than only ensuring the accountability demand. The main idea of these recommendations suggest that schools need to use data in the combination of all purposes of data use. Then, the fundamental goal of data use, school improvement in terms of student learning could be achieved.
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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