Teacher capacity for and beliefs about data-driven decision making

Amanda Datnow and Lea Hubbard

University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA 2

University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA 12


Data-driven decision making continues to be a growing educational reform initiative across the globe. The effective use of data requires that teachers develop the knowledge and skills to analyze and use data to improve instruction. The purpose of this article is to examine teachers’ capacity for and beliefs about data use. These issues are examined through a review of research in the past decade. We find that teachers’ beliefs about and capacity for data use are often not connected within the literature or in practice, but we argue they are the heart of the connection between data and instructional change. Teachers’ capacity to use data and their beliefs about data use are shaped within their professional communities, in training sessions, and in their interactions with coaches, consultants, and principals. However, efforts to develop teachers’ capacity for data use often fall short of their goals. Correspondingly, teachers have varied beliefs about data use, and some feel they lack the ability to use data to inform instruction. In order to be more successful, capacity building should directly address teachers’ beliefs, and data use must be decoupled from external accountability demands and involve a variety of informations on student learning.

Keywords: Data-driven decision making  Teacher capacity  Teacher beliefs

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