Data Use in Education

Data (and the use of data) undergird virtually everything done in well-functioning P-12 schools. Data help schools and teachers to:

  • track student progress,
  • identify students in need of support,
  • determine and improve teacher effectiveness,
  • identify high-performing schools, and
  • improve overall effectiveness in a system.

These are only a few examples, and the list goes on. As the Data Quality Campaign explains in its “Myth Busters” brief,Education data do include test scores, but they also include information from multiple sources that are relevant to diverse stakeholders. Data include student and teacher attendance, demographics, financial information, interventions, learning disabilities, formative and summative assessments, postsecondary success, outcome data, and much more.

Using this data in effective ways allows schools to respond and improve to their own situations. Data-driven decision-making for teachers is the practice of using information—including test scores, behavior, attendance, past performance, and multiple other student-level indicators—to inform professional judgment to tailor instruction and improve student learning.