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Why Data Literacy Is Important for School Leaders


With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and standardized testing, Data-Driven Decision Making, or DDDM, has become more and more important for school leadership.

A Journal of Continuing Education and Professional Development research article on teachers and data literacy sheds light on the status quo of DDDM in school districts. While many states require school districts to collect student performance data with the goal of increasing student achievement, there's work to be done in how the data will be used to inform and improve instruction, notes the article.

The research points out that DDDM pertains to the systematic collection, analysis, examination, and interpretation of data to inform practice and policy in educational settings.

Professional educators and school leadership are increasingly focused on placing data literacy at the center of their agenda. As standard bearers for their schools and districts, education leaders can make data literacy and DDDM part of their overall plans for improving student learning.

What Is Data Literacy?

Educators who are data literate  "continuously, effectively, and ethically access, interpret, act on, and communicate multiple types of data from state, local, classroom, and other sources to improve outcomes for students," according to education nonprofit The Data Quality Campaign (DQC).

According to DQC, "Teacher data use is a critical component of improving outcomes for students, but teachers cannot do it alone. School and district leaders and other administrative staff who support student learning goals also need to be able to collect, analyze, and use data."

In order to gather and use student learning data, administrative data, and other classroom performance data to help identify student needs and set school and district goals, leaders need to promote practices that lead to a culture of effective data use. Building such culture requires policies that allow teachers individual and collaborative time to make use of data as part of their strategy to meet student learning goals.

Becoming an Education Leader

Today's educational leaders are increasingly supportive of data-driven decision making. Data-literate leaders have a wealth of information from their schools, students and teachers to help them make informed decisions about everything that impacts student learning.

Northwest Missouri State University offers a fully online program for educators to earn a Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership. One of the courses, Data Literacy and Assessment for Schools, is designed to give graduate students opportunities to investigate and develop skills related to finding, evaluating, analyzing, prioritizing, and integrating data sources for the improvement of student learning. As part of the course, graduate students will conduct a research study around effective practice using data analysis to measure its impact on student achievement. The course also includes 21 hours of field experience.

The Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership online degree program from Northwest Missouri State University includes 30 credit hours of coursework and can be completed in as few as 12 months.

Learn more about Northwest Missouri State University's MSEd. in Educational Leadership online program.



Sources:

ResearchGate: Teachers and Data Literacy: A Blueprint for Professional Development to Foster Data Driven Decision Making

DataQualityCampaign.org: Teacher Data Literacy: It's About Time

National Institute for School Leadership

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