We are awash in learning data in our schools. However, there remains a deep skepticism for quantitative data and, at the very least, a noticeable discomfort for sharing and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data about one’s own student learning. Teachers and school leaders who wish to begin looking at both qualitative and quantitative data in a systematic way for robust school improvement must begin to develop a professional culture that values talking about data of all kinds.
Investing in data literacy and data conversations serves schools in fundamental ways:
- Embedding a collaborative learning cycle connected to student learning data and qualitative data as part of curriculum development and school improvement.
- Developing a shared language and safe environment for collaborative and open-minded exploration of ideas that might challenge our existing mental models.
- Challenging and influencing unproductive mindsets about student performance.
All of the above serve to develop and sustaining a high-performing collaborative professional culture.
In these collaborative cultures, data does not rule as a disconnected and unsympathetic entity. Instead, compassionate humans control how and to what end the data is used. Our learners, including our teachers, craft richer, deeper, more accurate stories that empower us all to take action in areas of need to improve learning for all.