A report from the Institute of Education Sciences has found that an intensive approach to providing support for using student data to inform teaching did not improve student achievement, perhaps because the approach did not change teachers’ use of data or their reported classroom practices.
For the study, researchers recruited 102 elementary schools from 12 U.S. districts. Schools were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. Treatment schools received funding for a half-time data coach of their choosing, as well as intensive professional development for coaches and school leaders on helping teachers use student data to inform their teaching. The control schools received no additional funding for a data coach or professional development. Impacts on teacher and student outcomes were measured after a 1.5 year implementation period.The results suggest that despite the additional resources, teachers in the treatment schools did not increase how often they used data or change their teaching practices in response to that data. Similar percentages of teachers in treatment and control schools reported data-related activities, such as analyzing data to understand student needs. The intervention also had no effect on student achievement. On average, students in treatment and control schools had similar achievement in math and English.