All day long, nearly everything we do generates terabytes of data. Some of it is noise, and some of it is meaningful. If you want to inspire positive change through data-driven processes it’s important to be able to know what data to gather, and how to interpret or transform it into actionable goals.
In the education field, we’re increasingly asked to use data to drive advancements in policy, curriculum, and assessments. Data analytics in education is a growing trend, with no end in sight. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), in particular, states are required to employ data-based decision making.
But it’s not just legislation that makes data literacy a critical skill for every level of school district employee! Knowing how to aggregate, translate, and disseminate data into results-driven initiatives is a powerful skill for anyone to have in their toolbox.
What Is Data Literacy?
While some people love to crunch numbers, for others this valuable skill doesn’t come as naturally. The good news is that it is a skill, and skills can always be learned. And no matter your background, being able to cultivate, interpret, and discuss data can help you separate fact from fiction and better understand existing situations.
Essentially, data literacy is the ability to take statistics and metrics and turn them into meaningful insights. As with any kind of literacy, this implies an ability to read, write, and communicate. And someone with strong data literacy will exhibit these traits:
Knowing which data is relevant to a particular situation for your school or district.
Asking if the data sufficiently shows meaningful trends. This may entail determining if the sample size is large enough or if it constitutes an appropriate representation of a larger population (etc.).
Ensuring the correct context for the data. For example, the biggest line item in your budget has more meaning if you look at it in the context of budgets from similar school districts.
Recognizing when data use is misleading or inappropriate, such as incorrectly using it to show correlation implying causation.
Communicating data through intuitive visualizations that are appropriate for the audience.
Most importantly, transforming that data into significant, actionable plans or programs for improvement.
With the abundance of data available now, knowing how to properly wield it can clearly lead to significant results. And this shows why you should consider data literacy training for teachers in your district!
The Power of Data Literacy in Education
Many teachers are already familiar with the collection and use of data to perform needs assessments, but there’s no reason to limit those skills to annual requirements. Data literacy can support ongoing improvements, everything from discovering behavioral trends to maximizing budget efficiency.
Teachers who are well versed in data literacy may discover there is a best day of the week to give students a test. Or perhaps you will find absenteeism trends before they develop into lagging grades. And comparing whether students learn better from physical books or digital copies is clearly a valuable insight for educators.
Those types of discoveries help teachers perfect their technique and give students better opportunities to reach their maximum achievement.
As educators become more data literate, they can use classroom data to make ongoing adjustments and monitor improvements. For some teachers, this will be a natural transition.
However, data literacy can be a very different way of thinking for those who rely heavily on intuition and gut feelings. And even individuals with high data literacy may struggle to present data in a visually compelling way unless they have a graphic design degree or a proper tool that makes it easier for them.
The good news is that there are tools to help!
Eidex Makes Data-Driven Decisions Easy for Educators
Whether the teachers and staff in your district find data literacy easy, challenging, or somewhere in between, using Eidex tools for data analytics saves valuable time and puts everyone on the same page. The power of Eidex is that you transform all your data into useful insights and coherent reports, so your team can uncover actionable ideas and decisions based on real-time information.
We know communication is an essential part of the process, so our platforms have built-in visualization tools to create powerful charts and graphs. These tools make it easy to identify trends, toggle through interactive filters, build custom peer-groups for comparison, and set achievement targets.
One of the biggest benefits of using Eidex platforms is the unparalleled support you receive. Our data coaches assist your team as they learn to use the software and offer continual support to ensure you’re taking full advantage of the Eidex tools. No one is born an expert, so your data coach is available with all the tips and tricks for analyzing your district’s data to create superior operational and instructional strategies.
Get Started With Eidex Today
As data literacy becomes increasingly important to school district functionality, choosing powerful tools like Eidex PRISM and FOCUS helps your staff transition to making more data-driven decisions.