Teachers Lack Consistent Access to Student Data

A new report outlines the problems that teachers have with using the growing amount of student data to improve teaching practices.

Inconsistent Student Data Use Leads to Teaching Problems 

While teachers are gaining access to more data on their students than ever before, there is a lack of consistency in the quality of the information presented to help teachers with instruction, according to RAND data note paper.  Using data from RAND's American Educator Panels Survey, the think tank found that the vast majority of teachers have access to electronic data information on their students, but the types of data have varied.

The majority of teachers have access to data that they are likely record themselves, such as student attendance (95 percent) and student grades, and many teachers have access to standardized test scores by student (77 percent) and by grade (63 percent).  However, access to students' cumulative records, such as disciplinary data (49 percent) and course enrollment data (43 percent), is less likely to be available.

Some teachers are also lacking supports to learn how to use data to improve their instruction practices. The student data is more likely to be used by principals to inform instructional decision making, but schools are making more of an effort to make professional development and staff or consultants available to teachers.

"Teachers who received supports for data use reported using data with greater frequency than those who did not receive such supports, reflecting findings in professional development literature. Together, these findings suggest that investing in teacher data-use support could lead to increased data use in instructional practice," according to the report.

The full report can be found be found here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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