Using Data Highlighted in Alliance for Excellent Education Policy Brief

August 20, 2009



CAMBRIDGE, MA–TERC’s Using Data was featured as one of two flagship professional development programs in a recent policy brief put out by the Alliance for Excellent Education. The policy brief—entitled Achieving a Wealth of Riches: Delivering on the Promise of Data to Transform Teaching and Learning—proposes methods for training teachers to use data effectively that can be enacted on local and national levels. The brief states, “For federal policy to best support teachers’ use of data to prepare all students for college and careers, there must be a recognition of the challenges for teachers associated with data use, an understanding about which data are more and less helpful and why, and a consensus on what supports and structures need to be in place at the school, district, state, and federal levels.”

Using Data was singled out as a program that narrows achievement gaps, improves student outcomes, and changes school cultures in regard to data use. Diana Nunnaley, Project Director for Using Data, notes, “the recommendations inAchieving a Wealth of Riches resonate with our experience in districts around the country.Teachers have to be empowered to work with data. Simply having the data or demanding that decisions be based on data will not lead to school improvement. We have seen districts make significant gains when the teachers are able to come together to acquire and practice the skills they need to analyze the data.”

To combat the “data rich but information poor” plight of teachers, Achieving a Wealth of Riches calls for specialized training from school leaders and data coaches to provide teachers with both “data literacy” skills to help them manipulate data to make informed decisions in the classroom and “assessment literacy” skills to help them imbed assessment practices in instruction and create valid and reliable assessments. The brief delineates that effective data use should be adopted and incentivized on school, district, state, and national levels to promote significant change in school data culture.

Founded in 2001, The Alliance for Excellent Education is a national policy and advocacy organization that works to make every child a high school graduate—to prepare them for college, work, and to be contributing members of society. To viewAchieving a Wealth of Riches: Delivering on the Promise of Data to Transform Learning and Teaching, please click here.

To learn more about the Using Data program at TERC, please visit: