School Leadership for Data Use: Exploring How Principals Shape the Functioning of Data Team Meetings

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Patrick, Jane, Curriculum and Instruction - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Moon, Tonya, CU-Curr Instr & Sp Ed, University of Virginia

The expectation that teachers will engage in data-driven decision making has become widespread in both research and practice. Alongside this expectation, school administrators such as principals have been cast as responsible for supporting the organizational and political factors that can foster data use at the school level, such as by establishing norms and policies for data use. One such organizational factor is ensuring dedicated time for data use through, for example, structured data team meetings. Though principals often attend data team meetings, relatively little is known about how they actually shape what happens during these meetings. In this capstone, I highlighted macro- and micro-problems of practice focused on developing a deeper understanding of how school-level administrators direct data use at the school level. Specifically, I explored how school principals shaped the functioning of data team meetings. To support this exploration, I conducted a comparative case study of two rural elementary schools engaged in data use. Using archival data including field observations of data team meetings and interviews with principals, this study’s findings revealed notable similarities in the data use that occurred during both schools’ data team meetings and in the organizational and political factors that informed the functioning of these meetings.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
data-driven decision making, data use, data teams
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