Ensuring data impacts progress

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Amassing reams and reams of school performance data means nothing if it’s not being put to good use. Phil Bourne gives his advice on making the most of the data you collect to aid in decision-making at all levels, close achievement gaps and improve pupil outcomes.

Schools have more data about themselves than ever before. Management information systems, spreadsheets, performance tracking systems and other systems are widely used to collect and disseminate huge volumes of information on a daily basis. At a school level, annually we have seen an increasing number of measures that publish information about progress, attainment and attendance.

Our accountability system thrives on data and this will continue as further information is made available about the performance of schools and academies. Data is an important lever in school improvement, but what can be done to ensure data is used to support learning and improve outcomes for students?

How much data do we really need?
The chart illustrates the increasing number of measures that have been published for a secondary school since 1994. The results of the 2014 examinations are likely to bring additional measures that school leaders will need to consider.

However, before exploring practical ideas that support better use of data, it is important that school leaders examine what it is that they already collect, what information they obtain from it and how this works to improve decision-making. Where data is used most effectively, leaders ensure that interventions are targeted and students are provided with support that closes gaps in their learning. It is this process that…



School Leadership Today