Leading Data Use in Schools: Exploring how Rural Elementary School Leaders Make Data-Informed Decisions
Abstract: The expectation that data teams in any number of configurations (e.g., professional learning communities) will drive instructional improvements is now established through federal policy, research evidence, and practitioner expectation. However, the ways in which school principals and leaders effectively structure these teams and guide them through data analysis processes and intentional instructional change is relatively unknown. Frameworks such as CanRead underscore the importance of principals creating schedules and advancing professional development for teachers to work collaboratively to improve literacy instruction. In this study, we will observe and interview data team leaders in three elementary schools in one rural district to increase understanding about how literacy data teams are constructed and developed, as well as learn more about how (and the extent to which) various building leaders promote effective data team behaviors, including analyses and instructional change. This study is especially important because very little research has been conducted to understand how principals and other leaders shape data teams, and nearly none of the existing research is set in rural contexts where human and fiscal resources are often most limited. This study also launches a larger inquiry in which we anticipate developing a Goal 2 proposal for the Institute of Education Sciences in order to provide rural principals and school leaders with professional development on data use and teams.