Data-Driven Decision-Making in Schools

Schools across the country are facing increased pressure to prove their efficiency when it comes to student achievement data. Schools embracing the belief that data is an essential piece of decision-making processes are the schools noted as being successful as it relates to school reform. Data-driven decision-making is a process involving the collection, analysis, and use of data when determining courses of action involving policy and procedures (Picciano, 2011). It is imperative to remember that data analysis is to inform and does not replace the experience, expertise, intuition, judgment, and insight of competent educators.

The successful implementation and execution of data-driven decision-making processes result in improved teachers’ ability and increased student achievement. If student learning is to be improved, data must be used.

What are your recommendations for district implementation? Based on the information from the case study of Lincoln Middle school, the first recommendation is: To distribute responsibilities to lead teachers, instructional coaches, and/or department chairs so that they are included in the decision-making process.

By reassigning some of the responsibility that fell on Mr. Vasquez alone, the feeling of inadequate and burnout is limited. Teachers are more likely to buy into the changes when they are included in the decision-making process. With redistributing responsibilities, there can be a noted change in how instruction is delivered which can change how learning takes place. Distributing decision-making empowers teachers to use their knowledge to increase student achievement. According to Standard 2 of Student achievement, effective school leaders demonstrate that student learning is their top priority through leadership actions that build and support a learning organization focused on student success (Florida Department of Education, 2018).

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As districts begin to focus on a data-driven decision-making process, the need for someone with technical proficiency in data analysis is essential (Picciano, 2011).

The second recommendation is to ensure data accessibility. The administrators at Lincoln Middle collected a wealth of information; however, due to the outdated database system which was housed in the district office made assessing the data difficult. To ensure that data is effectively used, a plan for how data will be collected and stored within the school to make more accessible to teachers. Ms. Marson and Mr. Vasquez have already established a small and effective database that gives teachers the ability to retrieve a variety of data quickly to make educational decisions. Providing an effective and updated database will allow all teachers to collect data on student demographics and performance. The influence of data-driven decision-making cannot be effective without the implementation of a data management system.

The final recommendation is to make professional development ongoing. Professional development is critical to improving the use of data-driven decision-making and advocating for Ms. Marson and Mr. Vasquez to ensure that professional development initiates instructional change for Lincoln Middle. With increasing student achievement as the focus of professional development, the administrator must provide teachers with ongoing assistance in data use. By providing all teachers with ongoing development, teachers can better analyze data and make decisions that will impact student achievement. Data analysis is ineffective if teachers are not provided with the knowledge to make meaning from the information (Picciano, 2011). Therefore, the two need to recognize and understand the importance of ensuring the development of new skills and creating an environment in which teachers are given time to sharpen their skills in analyzing data and how to apply those skills in making decisions that result in student achievement.

Based on the recommendationstakeholderss above, what has been accomplished at Lincoln Middle School can also be accomplished in other schools within the district. To maximize results, the other school administrators should reduce the number of specific goals identified to guide improvement and provide professional development that is focused on concerns that are specific to each school in the district. According to the text, all principals need four key skills to create and manage a data-driven decision-making infrastructure that is needed to support instructional improvement. Administrators must be able to manage information, analyze and use data to determine areas in need of improvement, align and monitor curriculum needs, and the ability to create an environment in which all stakeholder are committed to instructional improvement (Picciano, 2011). By applying these four skills the above recommendations can be applied to other schools.

Lincoln Middle School’s only other issue is the workload of Mr. Vasquez. Mr. Vasquez has been so involved in keeping the database system functioning, that he’s unable to focus on his other administrative duties. Incorporating the help of the school technology person will allow him to perform his other duties. If the school does not have a technology person employing someone with capable skills will ensure that data is being collected and stored with ease.

For schools to make effective data driven decisions participation of all concerned stakeholders, access to data and ongoing professional development is key. Improving data-driven decision-making in schools is contingent on how data is integrated, stored, and presented. However, the best database system and purposes cannot be effective without the involvement of the human touch.


  1. Florida Department of Education. (2018, May 21). Retrieved from Florida Department of Education Website:
  2. Picciano, A. G. (2011). Educationtional Leadership and Planning for Technology. In A. G. Picciano, Educationtional Leadership and Planning for Technology (p. 65). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, Inc.

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Data-Driven Decision-Making in Schools. (2022, Aug 09). Retrieved from

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