Are They Using the Data? Teacher Perceptions of, Practices with, and Preparation to Use Assessment Data

Louis S. Nadelson, Jennifer Throndsen, J. Eric Campbell, Melanie Arp, Melanie Durfee, Kami Dupree, Tyler Poll, Sydnie Schoepf


Teacher instructional and curricular choices should be informed by student level assessment
data; however, there is a dearth of empirical research documenting teachers’ perceptions, uses,
and preparation to use assessment data. To address this gap in understanding, we surveyed
teachers working in two public school districts in the western United States, resulting in a
sample consisting of 52 K-12 teachers. Our results revealed a number of relationships between
engaging in professional development, uses of assessment data, and perceptions of the value of
the data. We found a number of anticipated relationships, including that teachers who are more
comfortable using assessment data in their practice tend to feel less overwhelmed with using
assessment data. We also found several paradoxical relationships such as the more teachers
engage in professional learning communities the less they create and use common assessments.
Our research has a number of important implications for structuring teacher professional
development in ways that enhance effective use of assessment data by educators to inform their
practice. Our findings also provide a foundation for a deeper examination of teacher
perceptions of, uses of, and preparation to use assessment data.

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