Positive Data Use, Positive Outcomes!

Meredith Biesinger

Data is necessary for student achievement. Educators and students both seek success, and the way to do this is through positive data use. In addition, when educators implement positive data practices, they can begin to address learning gaps progressively.

The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly and dramatically changed the landscape of K–12 education. In weeks, schools transitioned their students from their buildings into virtual and home-based learning environments.

The pandemic has dramatically contributed to inequities in students’ current learning environments. However, much like learning gaps, this was already happening before Covid-19.

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While some students have remained somewhat sheltered from the hardships associated with COVID-19, others have experienced fear, isolation, and loss caused by the disease. For example, some students had parents at home to support and assist with academic learning, while others didn’t. In addition, many students have benefitted from exposure to new and engaging online learning resources. In contrast, others lacked internet access and could not engage in these learning opportunities.

Regardless of student circumstances, when students returned to school, many had not had a consistent academic experience for at least one year.

Data use can often serve as a valuable tool to help educators navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic and the learning gaps already in place.

Data helps educators understand, identify, and respond to students’ learning abilities and needs. Data analysis also helps educators make decisions that impact student learning and can assist in offering social and emotional support.

Ultimately, amid uncertainty, data provides valuable information which can guide school decisions in purposeful, meaningful ways. Moreover, when data is used positively, positive outcomes occur.

When teachers and leaders implement positive data practices and establish positive data cultures within their schools, data is utilized best.

• Data must be used for improvement purposes.

• Practical data is essential.

• Leaders must create safe, professional environments related to the use of data.

• Educators must have a sense of agency with data use.

• Utilizing various data sources allows teachers to recognize students’ strengths better.

• Data helps educators incorporate and leverage students’ strengths for instructional planning and improvement.

Positive data use promotes positive environments and consistency. When positive data practices and positive data cultures are implemented within schools, teachers and leaders provide an anchor to base decisions. This foundation is what will propel them forward – even amid any uncertainty.

 

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