Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Data based decision making processes in secondary education

How can teachers be motivated by their students’ data in making stepwise changes to their teaching practices?

2014 - 2016
Michiel Dam
Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap

This research focuses on the process by which teachers in secondary education can change their teaching practices to more explicitly aim for activation of their students’ higher order cognitive skills and more differentiated instruction. Often, introduction of such demands takes a deficiency approach, where teachers are asked to comply to certain goals and data mainly serve for accountability purposes. This, however, was found not to motivate teachers for change. This research takes an opposite stance and focuses on ways in which teachers can be motivated for desired change in a stepwise manner, building upon their existing teaching practices and using their students’ data to inform them on successful change.

Decision making in educational settings is often done on the basis of intuition and/or perceived personal experiences. Effective decision making, however, takes the use of data into account. This research focuses specifically on how teachers can make use of their students’ data within a PD program to make data-based decisions and successfully change their teaching practices toward the activation of students’ higher order cognitive skills and more differentiated instruction.

Student data, however, can easily show that change is needed, but do not immediately give insight into how teachers should change. For this, participants were supported with two interventions: a success-oriented approach and lesson building blocks to analyze, design and redesign lessons.

The research focuses specifically on

  1. to what extent teachers (n=25) can productively use their students’ data
  2. to what extent teachers formulate strong and specific intentions for change
  3. changes to teaching practices made within in the trajectory

The research takes place at the Scala College in Alphen aan den Rijn, where it could have an impact in developing a tested, data-based approach to professional development for teachers at the school.

Foto: John Birdsall / John Birdsall Education / John Birdsall Social Issues Photo Library / Press Association Images / Universal Images Group

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