data-driven instruction

What it really means to be a data-driven district–and how to make it happen

Here are 3 steps to turning your district into one that uses data to guide instructional decisions

A simple internet search for “data-driven instruction” yields nearly four million hits. Clearly, the concept is neither new nor novel.

Yet still, research continues to show that educators’ ability to actually use data to guide instructional decisions is lacking. How can that be?

While sifting through those search results, I realized something: Just about every article focuses on why data-based instruction is important, but not a single one I’ve found has addressed what that really means and how to make it happen in real classrooms with real students.

It’s time to push the conversation to the next level and help educators do something with their data.

Data-driven doesn’t just happen

As esteemed engineer and author William Edwards Deming put it, “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”

Fortunately, we live in a world and work in a field that is rich in data. From assessments to demographics to behavior to attendance, we collect more information than ever before. But of course, that data is only as good as what is done with it.

To that end, being “data-driven” is not just a characteristic that some districts naturally have and others don’t. It’s a system that must be deliberately set into motion and carefully sustained.

After years of observing districts and working with educators across the country, here’s what I know it takes to be a truly data-driven district.

(Next page: 3 factors to developing a data-driven district)

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