Report: Teachers Want Better Data – Not More of It

There’s more data than ever in the classroom, and teachers want more than ever to use that data to truly understand their students and in turn, create effective instruction. But, according to a recent survey released by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the majority of teachers are not completely satisfied with the quality of data they’re getting and their supporting digital tools.

The national survey asked more than 4,650 teachers to share their thoughts on data-driven digital instruction tools. Ninety-three percent of teachers regularly use a digital tool to guide instruction, but more than two-thirds of them are not fully satisfied with the effectiveness of the tools and data.

The survey demonstrated that educators typically fall into six groups when it comes to their approaches and comfort when using data and the supporting technology:

  • Data Mavens — focus on individualizing learning plans to address the whole student.
  • Growth Seekersuse data to differentiate instruction in the classroom and adapt how they teach.
  • Aspirational Usersbelieve in using data but often find it overwhelming.
  • Scorekeepersrely on assessment data to help prepare students for state tests and other high-stakes assessments.
  • Perceptivesrely on their own observations of how students are doing to guide instruction.

Interestingly enough, 48 percent (nearly half!) of teachers fall into the first two groups and are considered early adopters of data-driven teaching. However, the other half surveyed say they are uncomfortable using digital tools to meet learning objectives.

So, what were the key challenges teachers identified with current digital tools and the data they provide? They consider them overwhelming, incompatible, inconsistent, and too slow.

You can read the full report here.

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