This week: Data-Driven Decision Making

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Walk into any school's faculty meeting, and you'll think you've stumbled into a tongue twister competition. The push for data-driven decision making, DDDM, D3M - whatever you prefer to call it - is everywhere. This week I'll explore what data-driven decision making can and can't do for education and share some of the research on how data are currently used in schools.

Got something to share about how data are used in your school? Email me at eduwonkette (at) gmail (dot) com. In the meantime, you can check out some resources on DDDM over at Scott McLeod's site (the writer of Dangerously Irrelevant).

Wednesday: D3M Box Scores: Incentivists:10, Instructionists:1

Thursday: D3M Gone Wild: How Do We Know What Data To Trust to Inform Decision Making?
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I'm an Assistant Principal in a high school in Bergen County, NJ. We use D3M in just about every aspect of our functions.

For example, we analyze the Special Education students' early warning test data to place students in support classes for either Math or English. We also use this data to provide their teachers with specific weaknesses that each student has in these areas; this allows for clinical differentiated instruction.

We have also used D3M in creating a Suspension Alternative Program in our high school. I blog about this here: http://mikeparent.blogspot.com/2008/01/alternative-to-suspensions_02.html. I also have the exact data posted on Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/mikeparent/suspension-intervention-program/.

I have found that using relevant and current data strengthens the probability that action will be taken and ensures that a comfortable decision has been reached by program proposers and Boards of Education.

What's most important to me is the vehicles through which the data is derived. For much of my data, I rely on our IMS (PowerSchool) and student surveys. Lately, we've begun to use Scantrons for student opinion and survey data collection - this avoids the "eyeballing" method which can be inaccurate and tainted.

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