First and foremost, the source of data should be reliable and relevant to the organization entity. In my school district, it seems that every new initiative or policy change stems from very reliable data assessments. For instance, our district is a part of the new California Office to Reform Education (CORE), and that entails a well-developed survey for students, staff and parents. The feedback from the survey is cross-analyzed with the SBAC results to formulate part of the new SQII (School Quality Improvement Index), which is similar to the former CST-based API (Average Performance Index). One of the key findings was that schools need to promote a culture of higher achievement and college-aligned goals in younger students. 8th grade data pointed to four key patterns for high school readiness: 96% attendance or better, no suspensions in 8th grade, no Ds/Fs in ELA or Math, and at least a 2.5 GPA. Therefore, the decision to shift focus to improving school culture was made throughout the district, including educating parents.
Being able to analyze the data from the CORE surveys and formulate key findings is equally important for our district. Likewise, teachers need to be able to collect and then USE data from formative assessments to then monitor and adjust their classroom teaching and move learning forward. Without the ability to interpret and utilize data, collecting it is meaningless.
With every major decision people or organizations make, there should be some rationale behind it, backed by data. As a society, we learn from feedback and always strive for improvement. Just as Big Data in business sectors analyze customer response to make next-step decisions, basic argumentation suggest to use justifiable reasons. If not data driven, organizations will be inefficient and succumb to the norm, rather than be on the edge of innovation.