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Advancing equity in accountability and organizational cultures of data use

Advancing equity in accountability and organizational cultures of data use PurposeData use cultures in schools determine data use practices. Such cultures can be muted by powerful macro accountability and organizational learning cultures. Further, strong equity-oriented data use cultures are challenging to establish. The purpose of this paper is to engage these cultural tensions.Design/methodology/approachThe data discourse and decisions of four grade-level teams in two elementary schools in one district were studied through observation of 62 grade-level meetings over the course of a year. The observations focused on “data talk,” defined as the structure and content of team conversations about interim student performance data.FindingsDistinct macro cultures of accountability and organizational learning existed in the two schools. The teams’ own data use cultures partly explained the absence of a focus on equity, and none of the teams used student performance data to make instructional decisions in support of the district’s equity aims. Leadership missed opportunities to cultivate an equity-focused data use culture.Practical implicationsSchool leaders who advocate that equity importantly guides data use routines, and can anticipate how cultures of accountability or organizational learning “show up” in data use conversations, will be better prepared to redirect teachers’ interpretations of data and clarify expectations of equity reform initiatives.Originality/valueThis study is novel in its concept of “data talk,” which provided a holistic but nuanced account of data use practices in grade-level meetings. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Educational Administration Emerald Publishing

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References (37)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0957-8234
DOI
10.1108/JEA-09-2016-0108
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeData use cultures in schools determine data use practices. Such cultures can be muted by powerful macro accountability and organizational learning cultures. Further, strong equity-oriented data use cultures are challenging to establish. The purpose of this paper is to engage these cultural tensions.Design/methodology/approachThe data discourse and decisions of four grade-level teams in two elementary schools in one district were studied through observation of 62 grade-level meetings over the course of a year. The observations focused on “data talk,” defined as the structure and content of team conversations about interim student performance data.FindingsDistinct macro cultures of accountability and organizational learning existed in the two schools. The teams’ own data use cultures partly explained the absence of a focus on equity, and none of the teams used student performance data to make instructional decisions in support of the district’s equity aims. Leadership missed opportunities to cultivate an equity-focused data use culture.Practical implicationsSchool leaders who advocate that equity importantly guides data use routines, and can anticipate how cultures of accountability or organizational learning “show up” in data use conversations, will be better prepared to redirect teachers’ interpretations of data and clarify expectations of equity reform initiatives.Originality/valueThis study is novel in its concept of “data talk,” which provided a holistic but nuanced account of data use practices in grade-level meetings.

Journal

Journal of Educational AdministrationEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 3, 2017

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