More versatile than mere number crunching and statistics, data can be an effective tool-even a powerful catalyst-for change within a school. By replacing cynicism with conviction, learning to harness data's power, and becoming good users of data to positively impact student achievement, school leaders can develop three crucial capacities: an inquiry habit of mind, data literacy, and a culture of inquiry.
Lorna M. Earl and Steven Katz show educators how to become comfortable with data and provide valuable tools for school improvement teams to use in their work, including:
o Vignettes to support group discussion
o Activities for practicing the ideas and concepts in the book
o Task sheets
o Short case studies with actual school data that show how the full process works in a school
To improve schools, data can and should be a vital force in the change process. Using this essential resource, school leaders, school teams, study groups, and students of education can all make sense of data to plan and reform for maximum benefit.
Lorna M. Earl is a director of Aporia Consulting Ltd. and a retired associate professor from the Department of Theory and Policy Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. She was the first director of assessment for the Ontario Education Quality and Accountability Office, and she as been a researcher and research director in school districts for over 20 years. Throughout her career, Earl has concentrated her efforts on policy and program evaluations as a vehicle to enhance learning for pupils and for organizations. She has done extensive work in the areas of literacy and the middle years, but has concentrated her efforts on issues related to evaluation of large-scale reform and assessment (large-scale and classroom) in many venues around the world. She has worked extensively in schools and school boards, and has been involved in consultation, research, and staff development with teachers' organizations, ministries of education, school districts, and charitable foundations. Earl holds a doctorate in epidemiology and biostatistics, as well as degrees in education and psychology. Steven Katz is a director with the research and evaluation firm Aporia Consulting Ltd. and a permanent faculty member in Human Development and Applied Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto. He is an associate member of the School of Graduate Studies and is the coordinator of the Psychology of Learning and Development initial teacher education program component. Katz has a doctorate in human development and applied psychology, with a specialization in applied cognitive science. His areas of expertise include cognition and learning, teacher education, networked learning communities, and the design of data-driven systems for organizational accountability, planning, and improvement. He has received the Governor General's medal for excellence in his field, and has been involved in research and evaluation, professional development, and consulting with a host of educational organizations around the world.