Educators are increasingly responsible for using data to improve teaching and learning in their schools. This helpful guide provides leaders with simple steps for facilitating accurate analysis and interpretation of data, while avoiding common errors and pitfalls. How to Make Data Work provides clear strategies for getting data into workable shape and creating an environment that supports understanding, analysis, and successful use of data, no matter what data system or educational technology tools are in place in your district. This accessible resource makes data easy to understand and use so that educators can better evaluate and maximize their systems to help their staff, students, and school succeed. With this tried-and-true guidance, you’ll be prepared to advocate for tools that adhere to data reporting standards, avoid misinterpretation of data, and improve the data use climate in your school.
Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction
1. What It Means to Make Data Work
2. How to Make Data Work
Part II: Tools
4. Supplemental Documentation
5. Help System
8. Work with Your DSRP
Chapter 9 Reference List
Part III: Climate
9. Climate Maximization
Part IV: Data Users
10. Data User Maximization
Part V: Conclusion
11. Put It All Together
Appendix: Over-the-Counter Data (OTCD) Standards
Jenny Grant Rankin, Ph.D., teaches at University of Cambridge for the PostDoc Masterclass and is the former Chief Education and Research Officer at Illuminate Education, an educational technology data systems company. She has been an award-winning teacher, technology coordinator, site administrator, and district administrator.
Featured Author Profiles
"This book bridges the divide between research and typical data reporting, showing education leaders practical ways to make data digestible for staff."
- Debra L. Diaz, Principal, Charles G. Emery Elementary School, CA
"Dr. Rankin's book is a game-changer. This book doesn't just repeat data use strategies we've all heard and tried – it fundamentally simplifies how data use works."
- Gustavo Reyes, School Administrator, Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, CA
"Finally, someone is talking about the missing piece in data use. I learned most education data is misunderstood, I learned why, and I learned exactly what to do about it."
- Jennifer Kagy, Teacher and Technology Coordinator, Schmitt Elementary School, CA
"This work completely changed how colleagues and I look at data. Scores and other data that used to dishearten us are now exciting and easy to understand."
- Julie Duddridge, Lead Teacher and Teacher Mentor/Support Provider, Lincoln Elementary School, CA
"The standards we've implemented from this book have helped us create a common language about the data and build capacity throughout the district to ensure the data is used appropriately for making informed decisions that lead to increased student achievement."
- Margie L. Johnson, Business Intelligence Coordinator, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, TN
"As someone who worked on data at the school district level on a daily basis for many years, a book like this would have saved me a lot of time."
- Rufus Thompson, Formerly the Technology Coordinator for Mountain View School District in Ontario, CA
"This accessible resource makes data easy to understand and use so that educators can better evaluate and maximize their systems to help their staff, students, and school succeed. With this tried-and-true guidance, you’ll be prepared to advocate for tools that adhere to data reporting standards, avoid misinterpretation of data, and improve the data use climate in your school."
-Sarah Brew, Parents in Touch
- OTCD Standards
- Details on Evidence (supporting every one of the OTCD Standards)
- Needs Matrix (PDF)
- Needs Matrix (Excel)
- Data Use Reference Tool
- Sample Data Types to Support Data Analyses
- Sample Questions Data Can Help Answer
- Reference Sheet Templates
- Reference Guide Templates
- Sample Reference Sheets
- Sample Reference Guides
- Report Before and After Examples
- Evaluations in Online Survey Format
- Evaluations in Word Format
- Email Verbiage to Copy/Paste
- School District's Opportunities to Influence DSRP (diagram)