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The Transformation of Schools’ Social Networks During a Data-Based Decision Making Reform


by Trynke Keuning, Marieke van Geel, Adrie Visscher, Jean-Paul Fox & Nienke M. Moolenaar — 2016

Context: Collaboration within school teams is considered to be important to build the capacity school teams need to work in a data-based way. In a school characterized by a strong collaborative culture, teachers may have more access to the knowledge and skills for analyzing data, teachers have more opportunity to discuss the performance goals to be set, and they also can share effective teaching strategies to achieve those goals. Although many studies on data-based decision making (DBDM) foreground the importance of teacher collaboration, our knowledge of what such collaboration looks like and how such collaboration may change during a DBDM reform remains limited.

Objective: The current study uses a social network perspective to explore how collaboration in 32 elementary schools in the Netherlands takes shape in the interactions among teachers as they engage in a DBDM reform project.

Research Design: Schools’ social networks were examined at the start of the intervention and after having participated 1 year in the DBDM reform. Social networks regarding three DBDM topics are examined: (1) discussing student achievement; (2) discussing achievement goals; (3) and discussing instructional strategies. The density, reciprocity, and centralization of these networks were calculated, and multivariate multiple regression analysis was used to analyze changes over time.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that teachers’ DBDM related networks transform during the intervention, especially regarding the discussion of student achievement data: although the number of relationships remains stable, more reciprocal relationships are formed, and this network becomes less centralized around one or a few influential staff members.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 118 Number 9, 2016, p. 1-33
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21527, Date Accessed: 9/26/2017 10:29:54 AM

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About the Author
  • Trynke Keuning
    Universiteit of Twente
    E-mail Author
    TRYNKE KEUNING finished her PhD at the University of Twente in the summer of 2016, where she evaluated the effect of a DBDM intervention for primary school teams. Her research interest is in professional collaboration, teaching quality, and educational effectiveness.

    van Geel, M., Keuning, T., Visscher, A. J., & Fox, J.-P. (2016). Assessing the Effects of a School-Wide Data-Based Decision-Making Intervention on Student Achievement Growth in Primary Schools. American Educational Research Journal, 53(2), 360–394. http://doi.org/10.3102/0002831216637346


  • Marieke van Geel
    University of Twente
    E-mail Author
    MARIEKE VAN GEEL finished her PhD at the University of Twente in the summer of 2016, where she evaluated the effect of a DBDM intervention for primary school teams. She is specifically interested in data use, assessment, and school improvement.

    van Geel, M., Keuning, T., Visscher, A. J., & Fox, J.-P. (2016). Assessing the Effects of a School-Wide Data-Based Decision-Making Intervention on Student Achievement Growth in Primary Schools. American Educational Research Journal, 53(2), 360–394. http://doi.org/10.3102/0002831216637346


  • Adrie Visscher
    University of Twente
    E-mail Author
    ADRIE VISSCHER works as a professor at the University of Twente and the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. In his research he studies how teachers and school leaders can be supported (professional development) in the utilization of performance feedback as a way to improve educational effectiveness.

    Staman, L., Visscher, A. J., & Luyten, H. (2014). The effects of professional development on the attitudes, knowledge and skills for data-driven decision-making. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 42, 79–90.

    Schildkamp, K., & Visscher, A. J. (2010). The use of performance feedback in school improvement in Louisiana. Teaching and teacher education, 26(4), 1389–1403.

  • Jean-Paul Fox
    University of Twente
    E-mail Author
    JEAN-PAUL FOX is a professor at the Department of Research Methodology, Measurement and Data Analysis, University of Twente. His research interest is in Bayesian response modeling particularly in the context of large-scale surveys.

    Fox, J.-P., Klein Entink, R. K., & Timmers, C. (2014). The joint multivariate modeling of multiple mixed response sources: Relating student performances with feedback behavior. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 49(1), 54–66. doi:10.1080/00273171.2013.843441)

    Azevedo, C. L. N., Fox, J.-P., and Andrade, D. F. (2015). Bayesian longitudinal item response modeling with restricted covariance pattern structures. Statistics and Computing, 26(1), 443–460. doi:10.1007/s11222-014-9518-5


  • Nienke Moolenaar
    Utrecht University
    E-mail Author
    NIENKE M. MOOLENAAR is an assistant professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her research interests include social capital theory, social network analysis, leadership, and organizational behavior. She studies social networks among educators in both the United States and the Netherlands to understand the complexity of social dynamics in schools. For more information, please visit: http://uu.academia.edu/NienkeMoolenaar.

    Moolenaar, N. M., Daly, A. J., Cornelissen, L., Liou, Y.-H., Caillier, S., Riordan, R., … Cohen, N. A. (2014). Linked to innovation: Shaping an innovative climate through network intentionality and educators’ social network position. Journal of Educational Change, 15(2), 99–123. doi:10.1007/s10833-014-9230-4

    Moolenaar, N. M., & Sleegers, P. (2015). The networked principal: Examining principals’ social relationships and transformational leadership in school and district networks. Journal of Educational Administration, 53(1), 8–39.


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