Yet, opponents of requiring teachers to use data as part of licensure say it’s too early to know whether or not the data is worth suspending a teacher’s progress.
“Broadening data use beyond test scores, and giving teachers and administrators the time, training, and reinforcement they need to make effective use of data, seem like good moves,” explains Anya Kamenetz, writer for the Digital/Edu blog for The Hechinger Report, and author of several education books. “But five-odd years into the data revolution, it’s a bit hasty to make data literacy part of the definition of quality teaching.”
Kamenetz reinforces that data systems are very new and more research is needed to see what data is truly relevant for teaching and learning.
Also, “A large number of school and districts are using a hodgepodge of antiquated legacy software and lightweight apps. Crafting a literacy policy before upgrading the infrastructure seems like putting the cart before the horse,” she emphasizes.
For its part, the DQC does note in the report that studies have shown that for schools to be successful, their leaders and teachers need to develop more capacity to collect, analyze and use information to inform efforts toward meeting goals.
The report also states that studies suggest that while teachers often do get training on how to access data systems and reports, “they do not receive much, if any, in-service training on how to translate data into instructional decisions or activities in the classroom.”
Many teacher preparation programs also do not focus on preparing educators to use data available to them once they are in the classroom, the brief explains.
“…these recommendations for a path forward are only the beginning,” concludes the report. “State policymakers, as well as other national organizations, teacher preparation programs, and school districts, will need to take this framework as a starting point and do further work to create a data-literate teacher workforce.”
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