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Comprehensive and Superficial Data Users: A Convergent Mixed Methods Study of Teachers’ Practice of Interim Assessment Data Use


by Austin S. Jennings & Amanda B. Jennings - 2020

Background/Context: Teachers’ practice of interim assessment data use is subject to an array of individual, social, and organizational contextual factors. While contemporary research situates interim assessments within teachers’ broader practice of data use, teachers do not make sense of interim assessment data in isolation. This interconnectedness of data sources serves as an important context for understanding how teachers make sense of interim assessment data.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: Teachers’ ability to connect data sources to inform a common instructional practice has important implications for their instructional decision making. The present study maps the interconnectedness of interim assessment with other data sources as one of two dimensions of teachers’ practice of data use. Furthermore, this article explores how those dimensions are related to similarities, differences, and patterns in how teachers make sense of interim assessment data.

Population/Participants/Subjects: Data come from 88 grade 3−5 mathematics or English language arts teachers across 10 elementary schools in two states. All participants completed a survey about their data use practices. A subsample of 23 teachers completed an extended survey and participated in an interview data about how they use interim assessment data. Research Design: We conducted a convergent mixed methods study of teachers’ practice of interim assessment data use.

Data Collection and Analysis: Quantitatively, we analyzed the interconnectedness of data sources across teachers within an epistemic network analytic framework. Qualitatively, we coded interview transcripts to gather evidence of how teachers use interim assessment data to make instruction decisions. We integrated our quantitative and qualitative findings and recoded interview transcripts to develop a nuanced perspective on the similarities, differences, and patterns in how teachers make sense of interim assessment data.

Findings/Results: Findings reveal teachers rarely interpret interim assessment data in isolation and meaningfully vary in the extent to which they perceive it informs their broader instructional practice. Taken together, these two dimensions of teachers’ practice of interim assessment data use are indicators of significant patterns in the authenticity of teachers’ data use with implications for their instructional decision making.

Conclusions/Recommendations: The present study maps the interconnectedness of data sources within teachers’ instructional practice and how it serves as one of two dimensions that explain similarities, differences, and patterns in how they make sense of interim assessment data. Our findings have implications for how instructional support coaches, administrators, interim assessment developers, and researchers can support teachers’ use of interim assessment data for instructional purposes.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 122 Number 12, 2020, p. -
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23503, Date Accessed: 3/1/2021 2:33:12 AM

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About the Author
  • Austin S. Jennings
    University of Delaware
    E-mail Author
    AUSTIN S. JENNINGS, Ph.D., is an education research and data analyst with expertise in multilevel modeling, network analysis, and mixed methods. His research focuses on the implications of data literacy for teachers’ capacity to understand and respond to diverse student learning needs. Recent publications include “Toward a Framework for Classifying Teachers’ Use of Assessment Data,” AERA Open, 2019, 5(4), 1−18.
  • Amanda B. Jennings
    University of Michigan
    E-mail Author
    AMANDA JENNINGS, Ph.D., is a research investigator at the University of Michigan. She supports the Teaching Reasoning and Inquiry Project in Social Studies (TRIPSS) in the design, implementation, and evaluation of professional development. Her research focuses on understanding children’s naïve economics theories to better design social studies curricula and professional learning. Recent publications include “I’ll Share With Her, But Not With You: A Mixed Methods Approach to Investigating Children’s Naïve Theories About Resource Allocation Decisions,” International Review of Economics Education, 2019, 32, 1−17.
 
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