Brennan McMahon of Data Quality Campaign followed up with us by email on the question of how much training current teachers are getting in effectively using and managing all the student data they now are receiving. She writes:
Recently, I wrote a blog post highlighting the deluge of data that teachers are increasingly supplied with. Though the increased access to and availability of data is a huge step in the right direction, states have not yet done a good job of ensuring teachers feel comfortable using those data. I mentioned in my post, that a key step to creating a data-savvy teacher workforce is embedding data use skills into teacher preparation programs. Anthony Rebora asked a great question, though—what about teachers already in the field trying to deal with all the work that goes into their daily practice, and then handle data on top of it? He is absolutely right. Ensuring effective data use is not an "event"—a one time learning experience that should happen only in the preparation setting. Much as with updating other pedagogical skills, using data to inform practice is an ongoing learning experience.
Unfortunately, not many states have effectively cracked the nut of in-service training on effective data use. One state, Oregon, is leading the way with its DATA Project. Oregon's training is administrator and school leader led, and embeds data training and use into teachers' professional learning communities—and it has seen results. Teachers who have gone through the training experience heightened trust in data and their value, and it is associated with improved student achievement.
But one state leader empowering teachers with these important skills is no longer enough. That is why this year Data Quality Campaign is placing a tremendous focus on what it means to be "data literate." We are partnering with other organizations, like AFT and AACTE, so that we can better answer questions like Anthony's, and start helping states move toward a culture of effective data use.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.