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ERIC Number: ED494198
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Oct
Pages: 56
Abstractor: ERIC
Data-Informed Leadership in Education
Knapp, Michael S.; Swinnerton, Juli A.; Copland, Michael A.; Monpas-Huber, Jack
Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy
This report, one of six state-of-the-field reports, details how educational leaders access data, the meaning they assign to it, and how the use data to improve teaching and learning. The report recognizes that data does not provide leaders a clear direction for action; rather that data used in educational settings is complex and indefinite. These state-of-the-field reports, developed with support from The Wallace Foundation, synthesize studies, conceptual work, and examples of current and emerging practice. The reports are intended to clarify each leadership issue (data-informed leadership, resource allocation, redefining leadership roles, leadership assessment, improving governance, high school transformation, and a synthesis framework across issues), while assembling what is known from empirical studies. This paper explores these possibilities, both conceptually and in light of research on the use of data in educational decision making. Based largely on published accounts in the research literature and descriptive material on established or emerging practices, the paper synthesizes and interprets ideas, frameworks, beliefs, and activities concerning the availability, quality, and use of data in the work of leaders at state and local levels related to the improvement of teaching and learning. The paper unfolds as follows: First, following discussion of a broader way of construing the use of data in leadership, it presents ideas that can help conceptualize the relation among the leaders' access to data, the meanings they give to it, and the uses to which they put this data, in the varying settings in which leaders seek to improve teaching and learning. Next, the paper briefly reviews the landscape of current practice, noting emerging strategies that purport to improve the leaders' access to, and use of, data for improvement purposes, as well as conditions that limit or complicate leaders' use of data. Finally, it concludes with questions that emerge from the review and beg to be answered through further experimentation and research, while noting enduring tensions that will always be present in data-informed practice and cannot be "resolved" through further effort or study. (Contains 3 tables, 2 figures, and 14 endnotes.)
Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy (CTP). University of Washington, Box 353600, Seattle, WA 98195-3600. Tel: 206-221-4114; Fax: 206-616-8158; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, Seattle, WA.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
IES Cited: ED506645; ED555739