Teachers Know Best: Making Data Work For Teachers and Students

October 8, 2015

In July 2015, Casda sponsored a full-day Data Institute for administrators and teachers in order to bring the latest research and best practice regarding the use of data directly to schools. The keynote speaker, Dr. Joseph Dragone, Superintendent of Ballston Spa Central School District, spoke about a newly released study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and how it relates to teachers’ use of data in his district. This study compiled survey, interview and observational data from over 4,600 teachers across the United States about their use of data to drive instruction. The study is packed with information that is valuable to administrators and developers of digital tools as schools continue down the path of data use. The Teachers Know Best study was designed in order to “encourage innovation in K-12 education by helping product developers and those who procure resources for teachers better understand teachers’ views.” The use of data is essential in order to personalize learning for all students in such a way that the needs, skills and interests of individuals are incorporated. This research brief will highlight and discuss the main findings of the study with the goal of allowing the reader to delve into the minds of teachers and understand their thinking about data.

 

Summary of Key Findings: Teachers’ Beliefs Regarding the Value of Data

  • Teachers believe that knowing their students well is fundamental to effective instruction

  • 93% of teachers regularly use some sort of digital tool to guide instruction

  • 91% of teachers believe it is important that digital tools help them see how their entire class is performing

  • 67% of teachers are not fully satisfied with the effectiveness of the data or the tools that are available to them

  • 78% of teachers believe that data is helpful in identifying misconceptions, struggles and competencies of students

  • 69% of teachers believe that tailoring instruction to meet the needs of individual students is essential

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