Culture of Data Use

I was in a workshop a few months ago (okay, a LONG time ago by the time I actually publish this post!), and I heard the phrase “culture of data use”. I can no longer remember the source, so I apologize in advance for my vagueness. This culture was defined by:

  • Ensuring access to data
  • Making meaning from data
  • Clarifying expectations for data use
  • Building knowledge and skills to use data
  • Leading a culture of data use

I was struck by the phrase and the entire concept of a culture of data use. In education we often suffer from DRIP- Data Rich but Information Poor. Through the NCLB era, we were forced to see our data in various color-coded charts and our schools’ names in rank order based on the data. But this mandated data identification did not, in any system in which I was a member, create a culture of effective data use.

CCC licensed work

CCC licensed work

As we now begin to analyze our most recent student achievement results (part of the SBAC here in CA), we have an opportunity to create a culture of data use. We can help students, teachers, parents, and administrators see the strengths in the data as well as the areas in which we need to grow. We can be brave and hold hard conversations about the realities of the achievement gap that still exists in too many schools. We can use the data to truly inform our instruction and to make a different in student learning moving forward.

There is much knowledge we need in order to use the new data. We need to understand the new proficiency levels, the claims, and how the standards are assessed in an integrated fashion. We need to remember that these data are one point in time, one measure of a year of teaching of learning, one element in our data culture. We must also recognize that if we don’t teach to the depth of knowledge called for in our state standards, our kids won’t have the opportunity to achieve the highest levels of achievement.

How is your school or district creating a culture of data use?

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
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