chapter  21
19 Pages

Collaborative Inquiry and Data-Based Decision Making

ByDouglas Huffman, Kelli Thomas

The educational reform movement and demands for public accountability have placed increased pressure on K-12 educators to help students perform on national, state, and local tests. Teachers and students are currently facing an onslaught of tests and assessments designed to judge whether or not they are making adequate yearly progress (AYP) in increasing student achievement. At the surface level, student data are gathered to meet the requirements of the federal, state, and local legislation and policies. At a deeper level, the increasing use of data to make decisions reflects a shift in the professional roles of educators. The focus on student test scores has forced educators to become more data driven as they attempt to analyze test scores and make decisions about curricular and instructional changes that will help students learn. The educational reform movement “broadened expectations for professional practice” calling for K-12 educators to be more than mere implementers of the policies and practices determined by others, and rather to be leaders responsible for school improvement (Kowalski, Lasley, & Mahoney, 2008, p. 3).