Harvard Family Research Project (2013). Tips for Administrators, Teachers, and Families: How to Share Data Effectively. Retrieved from http://www.hfrp.org/var/hfrp/storage/fckeditor/File/7-DataSharingTipSheets-HarvardFamilyResearchProject.p
Data-driven organizations are found all over the world. It is the data that drives decisions in banking, sports, and in recent years, schools. It has transformed the way districts analyze scores, make decisions, and all of this has a direct impact on our students. The question I have for you is are you sharing it effectively?
The Harvard Family Research Project provides us with their Tips for Administrators, Teachers, and Families: How to Share Data Effectively. The article provides tips on how to effectively distribute, use, and communicate data to your teachers, students, and community. I worked at a school that would provide me piles of data on paper, multiple websites with multiple log-ins, and then claim to be data driven! They never sat down and talked with teachers to explain best practices is utilizing the data, how to share it with students or even how to share it with parents. Do you work at a place like this? This article is great and provides suggestions on how to get over these hurdles.
Here are some of the headlines from the article highlighting which scenario’s are discussed:
- Creating a Data Sharing Culture Among Teachers
- Helping Families Make Use of Data
- Preparing to Share Data With Families
- Talking With Families About Student Data
- Preparing to Communicate With Teachers
- Talking with Teachers About Your Child’s Progress
So often I see schools who claim they are data driven and then when you ask how they use it effectively they are not able to provide a solid response. They are like one of the districts I worked at. They can provide me lists of websites, benchmark tests, etc to collect the data but they do not have a plan on how to use it effectively.
Think of the things that are wasted when data is not used: money, instructional time, teacher planning time, etc. “Recess!” My daughter would yell and you know what why not!? Gathering data with benchmark tests bring stress, anxiety to classrooms across the country for teachers and students so when I see they are not used effectively it is disappointing. Data alone has no value, it is what is done with it that matters.
So we have talked about ways to share the data so how did we get to this point? Data has no value unless you use it appropriately to make decisions. Here is a resource that highlights how to make data work and what you can do as a teacher, administrator and policy maker to ensure that data is useful. If you are still wondering what specifically you could do here are 11 tips on How to Make Data Analytics Work for K-12.
Use these resources to inspire changes in policy and usage of data in your district or fine tune your methods. In this ever changing world we always need to make sure that we are being efficient in our practices and data sharing is no different!