Carol S. Parke




This paper describes how districts can better use their extensive student databases and other existing data to explore questions of interest. School districts are required to maintain a wealth of student information in electronic data systems and other formats. The meaningfulness of the data depends to a large degree on whether they can understand the information and use it to guide their efforts. The considerations and guidelines presented here are organized into six components which include identifying the broad area, creating specific questions, roles and trust, sample and methodology, presentation of results, and outcomes and further directions. Two examples are used throughout the paper to illustrate each component. One is from a study of high school mathematics in an urban school district, the other is from a teacher-initiated effort to better understand students’ perceptions of their middle school. Recommendations are offered throughout for encouraging effective data use in decision-making. Accessed 8,252 times on https://pareonline.net from May 16, 2012 to December 31, 2019. For downloads from January 1, 2020 forward, please click on the PlumX Metrics link to the right.