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The Effectiveness of Leadership Behaviors in Influencing Data-Driven Decision-Making by Teachers


This study examined the effect of various district and site level conditions that influence the frequency of teacher data-driven decision-making behaviors. This study is motivated by four research questions: 1) Among various kinds of data available to teachers and principals in making data-driven decisions: a. What is the relative level of availability of that data? b. What is the relative frequency of use of that data? 2) When considering conditions that potentially influence use of evidence at schools, including district office supports, principal leadership behaviors, principal leadership styles, prior training, and attitudes towards data use: a. To what extent do teachers experience these conditions? b. To what extent do principals experience these conditions? 3) To what extent do teachers engage in processes for interpreting evidence at schools? 4) Is there a relationship between types of evidence used by teachers and conditions influencing use of evidence, and the extent to which teachers engage in processes for interpreting evidence at schools? This study integrates a wide range of qualitative research regarding the role of the district office and principals in implementing key supports and conditions for data-driven decision-making, which are then explored through a principal and teacher survey administered to nine principals and 104 teachers from 11 schools.

The findings from the research revealed that teachers varied in their use of data, as they reported that academic data was both more available and more widely used than non-academic data such as suspension, attendance, or surveys of teachers or parents. In addition, teachers and principals reported varied conditions supporting data-driven decision-making, with principal leadership behaviors reported to occur frequently, as compared with district office supports. Teachers also self-reported very high levels of data-driven decision-making behaviors. Ultimately, this research supported principal leadership behaviors as being the most positively associated with teacher data-driven decision-making behaviors, with district supports having a weak, but positive relationship to teacher behaviors as well. I conclude with recommendations for district and site leaders seeking to improve data-driven decision-making practices in their own organizations.

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