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To share or not to share:Teachers’ use of student data for making pedagogical decisions

Teachers are expected to use evidence about students’ progress to inform their teaching and account for this progress to others. These requirements emphasise the need for educators’ competence in the collection, collation, analysis, interpretation and use of a range of data. In this paper we report on the results of a one-year University of Waikato Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) research project aimed at understanding how New Zealand teachers collect student data, what data they collect, how they share the outcomes of data analysis, and how they use the data to inform their teaching. To address these questions we collected data through an online survey, which had 311 teacher and principal respondents, and through focus group interviews with 45 participants. The survey questions explored educators’ perceptions about needed data literacy skills for pedagogical action and ways of scaffolding and developing them. The interviews focused on school’s context, content, practice and relationships when analysing student data. Quantitative and qualitative analyses explored how individual teachers and the collective generate, interpret, share and plan pedagogical actions using students’ recorded data. The results indicate that teachers collect and collate a range of different types of data and use them for various purposes such as to identify student learning needs, help students’ transitions and work with their set targets for student learning. However, the participants raised concerns regarding their data literacy skills and the accuracy of their own interpretation and understandings of how to use the collected data to make informed decision for their teaching. The findings also suggest that teachers consider there are a number of challenges in sharing and discussing data with their colleagues within their own school and across Kāhui Ako schools. The participants raised issues around moderation, lack of validity and reliability of data, feeling uncomfortable for being judged when sharing data and/or the potential for data use for appraisal. These findings have implications for supporting teachers’ collaborative data analysis and use, data literacy professional development of teachers/leaders, and informing the data-driven pedagogical decisions across schools.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Peter, M., Cowie, B., Edwards, F., & Adam, A. S. (2017). To share or not to share:Teachers’ use of student data for making pedagogical decisions. Presented at the NZARE 2017 Conference, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.