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There’s a New Survey on the Way: the Teacher Data Use Survey

Guess what?  In Fall 2016, Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Appalachia will release the Teacher Data Use Survey. It will be a free resource, developed through the REL program and the Institute of Education Sciences.  Schools, districts, researchers, and others can use it to learn about how teachers use data, about teacher attitudes toward data, and about supports for teacher data use.  No more guessing, no more relying on anecdotal stories.  Evidence.  That’s what we do.  (By the way, isn’t it annoying/ridiculous that teachers are hounded to “use data, use evidence!” but nobody collects evidence on teacher data use?  Grrr…).

How did this survey come about?  Well, for years, Vincent Cho, Ellen Mandinach, Jon Supovitz and I had talked about putting our various heads and surveys together to consolidate and improve upon this work.  Through my work with REL Appalachia, I found that the REL had the same need.  At the same time, I met Stephanie Wilkerson, who was also consulting with the REL and had been doing her own work in data use.  Vin, Ellen, Jon, and I had worked together for years, but Stephanie brought new expertise and perspective.  So with support from the REL, the five of us formed a research team to start work on this survey.

Together, our team developed a research-based framework that describes how teachers use data to inform their practice.  We built a survey that would measure each of the components of this framework – the actions that teachers take and the various supports that help those actions happen.  There are three versions of the survey: one that asks teachers directly about their data use, one that asks administrators about teacher data use, and one that asks instructional support staff about teacher data use.  These versions offer a triangulated picture of teacher data use.  With the help of Margie Johnson, the survey was piloted in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

The surveys will be released with a manual that describes how survey planners can customize the survey to their own context.  We don’t yet have a release date for the surveys and manual, but they’re in the final stages of approval – in fact, I just got the final page proofs today.  We’re optimistic it will all be released in October, but I’ll keep you posted.  Once it’s released, Stephanie and I will conduct a series of four webinars, through REL Appalachia, to describe the survey and how to implement it. Details to follow.

Finally, I’d like your help on something, please: I submitted a proposal to present this survey at the SXSWedu conference in March, 2017.  SXSWedu is a different audience from the ones we usually reach with our work, so it’s important that this work gets presented there.  Part of the criteria for SXSWedu is public voting, so could you please take a moment and vote for our session?  Here’s the link: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/64502.  Don’t wait long, though – voting closes at midnight on Friday, Sept. 2.  I would greatly appreciate your support and you’ll be doing a service to the field.

We’re excited about this survey!  We’ll keep you posted as we know more.  Thanks for reading.