Tags: Curriculum Manager | Headteacher | School Leadership & Management | Teaching & Learning Coordinator | Teaching and Learning

Research carried out earlier this year to assess the use of data in schools highlights its importance in many areas, including facilitating more effective allocation of staff and resources and monitoring the effectiveness of initiatives and strategies.

Schools’ Use of Data in Teaching and Learning reports that data was also perceived to promote teaching and learning by:

  • aiding performance management
  • facilitating evidence-based discussions with the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), local education authorities (LEAs), governors, among others
  • challenging expectations of staff, pupils, parents, among others
  • facilitating transitions and transfers – particularly transitions between key stages within schools
  • identification of pupils’ achievements and setting of targets.

The report says that ‘good practice’ emerged from the use to which the data was put rather than specific systems or tools. A recurrent theme was that data only becomes effective if it stimulates questions about the actual learning that is taking place and how it can be developed further.
Commonly reported uses for data in all schools were:

  • to track pupil progress
  • to set targets
  • to identify underachieving pupils for further support
  • to inform teaching and learning and strategic planning.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including raising awareness of data systems and their potential capabilities and availability; encouraging the use of linkable or compatible systems; promoting training and support in the use of data; and encouraging the sharing of good practice, for example through networks/clusters of schools/workshops.

Schools’ Use of Data in Teaching and Learning (DfES Research Report 671) by Kirkup, C, Sizmur, J, Sturman, L and Lewis, K (2005) was commissioned by the DfES from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

This article first appeared in Secondary Headship – Nov 2005

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