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Structuring Professional Learning to Develop a Culture of Data Use: Aligning Knowledge From the Field and Research Findings


by Nancy Gerzon — 2015

Background: This research review provides an analysis of current research related to school and district data use, with a particular focus on identifying key characteristics of schools and districts with effective “data using cultures.” The research review identifies and analyzes findings in five key areas of practice: communicating professional expectations for data use; providing resources and assistance to make meaning from data; participating in the flow of information for data use; providing professional development on data use knowledge and skills; and providing leadership to nurture a culture of data use.

Purpose: The goal of this literature review was to identify key elements that the research identifies as essential to developing a school or district culture of data use. Through the literature review and analysis, this article proposes a conceptual framework for school and district data use practices that can be used to guide professional learning in the area of data use.

Research Design: The research design is an analytic essay. The article includes an analysis of current literature on school and district data use, compares key concepts presented in current studies and literature reviews, and offers conclusions based on these findings.

Conclusions: This research review provides a conceptual framework of five elements that school and district leaders can use to guide professional learning in data use. The framework provides a “mental map” for addressing the range of knowledge and skills teachers must learn to use data as a routine part of their daily practice. In particular, the Culture of Data Use Framework is designed to help school and district leaders and professional development providers tease apart the specific areas of focus for training and support. The author outlines considerations for professional learning for each of the five framework elements and closes with a set of questions that may help to highlight future research needs in the area of school-level data use.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 117 Number 4, 2015, p. 1-28
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17854, Date Accessed: 7/29/2017 7:43:36 AM

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About the Author
  • Nancy Gerzon
    WestEd
    E-mail Author
    NANCY GERZON is senior research associate, Learning Innovations, at WestEd. Her work supports education leaders to improve policy and develop systemic approaches to using data to support increased student learning. For over 10, years, she has led professional development and leadership coaching to support schools and districts to implement inquiry teams, professional learning communities, and data teams. Nancy is coauthor, with Sonia Caus Gleason, of Growing Into Equity: Professional Learning and Personalization in High-Achieving Schools (Corwin, 2013).
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