For decades we have based many of our policy and practice decisions on standardized testing data. We know that standardized testing data, when viewed in isolation, represent a limited view of student success and can even mislead us. We know the policies we’ve enforced and the decisions we’ve made based on these data have failed to close persistent achievement disparities across income levels and between white students and students of color, even after more than 50 years of testing.
A school district’s data culture can be defined by beliefs, values, norms, resources, and spaces.
On January 28, 1986, the space program experienced one of its most catastrophic events to date when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart just over a minute after launch. All seven crew members died, including Christa McAulliffe, a school teacher who would have been the first teacher in space.
If our cliches are an indicator, we all know that data collection, review, analysis, and understanding is important. We all hear of data-driven decisions, and the importance of data in education and educational systems, but we are often challenged to incorporate data review and the next steps into our everyday lives.
When I was studying research methods as part of my doctoral degree, the running joke among our professors was that they would answer every question with “It depends.” My favorite professor would answer an either/or question with “Yes.” Should I use a survey to answer these research questions? Or would interviews be better? “Yes.”
As a new mom, I cared deeply about two things: my baby’s well-being and my sleep. I could go without showering or hot meals, but I was NOT well equipped to deal with the lack of sleep. And I was fairly lucky - my son slept about as normally as you can expect a newborn to sleep.