CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Gertrude W Abramson

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Helen L St. Aubin

Abstract

Using data to improve educational practice in schools has become a popular reform strategy that has grown as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Districts and schools across the United States are under a great deal of pressure to collect and analyze data in hopes of identifying student weaknesses to implement corrective action plans that will lead to overall student achievement in the classroom.

Technology tools such as computer-based assessment and reporting systems have provided schools with immediate access to student-level data. The problem is the lack of direction in how to use the information to make instructional changes in the classroom. A review of literature provided an overview of research-based strategies that support data-driven decision making (DDDM) in the classroom. Three case studies in Louisiana were examined to build a conceptual understanding about how districts and schools use data to make informed decisions. Three research questions guided the investigation and focused on the tools used to assess, store, and retrieve student data, evidence that connects the data and improvements in teaching, and recommendations for other districts and schools. Educational practices were documented through a collection of documents, interview/questionnaire data, and physical artifacts.

Results were reported in a question and answer format for three case studies. School administrators reported using data to plan, evaluate, and provide feedback to teachers. In contrast, teachers and instructional specialists revealed that data were used to assess and measure student's weekly performance. All schools utilized at least two computer-based assessment and/or reporting systems to manage student-level data within the district and/or school. Instructional coaches provided direct support to teachers. Data analysis revealed that teachers collaborated and supported each other through data team meetings and working sessions. Principals and teachers monitored student behavior through use of data management and reporting tools. Schools showed promising and positive attitudes about making changes and building a data-driven culture. Findings were supported through current research on DDDM.

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