Supporting Teacher Data Literacy Week 2020

The Data Quality Campaign kicked off Teacher Data Literacy Week 2020, an annual conversation about the power of data to inform instruction.  In an effort to help district administrators promote positive data practices and build a strong data culture within their schools, we’re sharing a few helpful tips on data literacy basics.  Now more than ever, data will be critical in supporting schools and students through this period of distance learning.  We can’t assume that everyone in the room is immediately familiar with a scale score or how it correlates with percentile rank and student growth percentile (SGP).  Below, we’ve highlighted four tips for setting your teams up for success by building data literacy into instruction:  


  • Create intuitive reports. When designing or selecting a visualization platform, make it clear which information will be displayed, what each report will be used for, and what data points you will use to indicate measures of success. For example, label reports with the questions they answer (e.g. A report that shows attendance by grade level so you can easily visualize how many students are absent each week.)


  • Choose intuitive systems. You can make a big difference from the beginning by picking displays that feel natural on sight. For example, anyone in the U.S. is likely to understand “stoplight colors”: green for at grade level or above, yellow for at-risk, and red for below grade level. 


  • Scaffold data interpretation. Develop a curious attitude about data. During data days, meetings, or presentations, demonstrate what you see in the data, what you conclude, and what questions you’ll ask as a result. Then transition to an analysis tool like the 8 Essential Questions


  • Differentiate visualizations and reports. Just as with students, adults don’t learn in the same ways. So offer information in different forms: consider live training, staff portals, office hours, support lines, or a help email.  The easier you make it for all learners to improve their data use, the more they will.