Teachers Face Obstacles to Data Use

By Stephen Sawchuk — August 13, 2009 1 min read

From guest blogger Dakarai I. Aarons

With the advent of technology, schools now have more data than ever available at their fingertips. That means everyone is jumping in enthusiastically to use it, right?

Not so fast!

In a brief released this morning by the Alliance for Excellent Education, the group says teachers are suffering from what some educators call the DRIP syndrome--data rich but information poor.

The brief says “while student data is becoming more abundant, not enough teachers have access to training, support, and the structures needed to use data effectively.”

The Alliance’s conference this morning on the topic was filled with something unusual at a Washington education conference: actual teachers and administrators!

Those from the ranks of the classroom were not only in the audience, but on the panel to help their fellow educators figure out how, where and when to use all these reams of information to do the much-vaunted “data-driven decision making” most superintendents will tell you is already going on in their schools.

One large barrier to schools using data effectively is the lack of training teachers and administrators have in creating and using good assessments, said Leslie W. Grant, a visiting assistant professor at The College of William & Mary in Virginia.

Grant recalled her own teacher preparation program, in which she said her professor told the class they would have to design an assessment for their lesson plan, but never taught them how.

Schools of education have operated this way for years, and many still do. Moreover, Grant said, up until recently, few states required any evidence teachers had any competency in assessment as part of the licensing process.

“We’re expecting (teachers) to do things they’ve not had training on,” Grant said.
Also key to data use is making creating a culture where people believe in its value, said Norah Lycknell, principal of D.C.'s Janney Elementary School.

“Do you believe in innate ability or do you believe students can progress toward a goal? Data is a tool for the latter,” she said.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read