Information is very important in holding academic institutions accountable for enhanced yearly performance among the student group. The best management instrument in any institutions is the data. This is because data help in identifying the problem and the people’s who are affected by this problem and a solution is then identified. For instance, teachers or tutors can amend their lessons plans while the management can assess the curricula. Thus data can enlighten decision making (LaFee, 2002). The requirement for improved decision making has increased in the academic institutions with an increase in standards-based transformation and accountability systems for performance. Following years of persuasion and exhorting academic institutions to enhance, the policymakers have made a decision to be tough. For example, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation requires that all district schools in the U.S. to assess students, gather performance data that will then be used to identify weaknesses and strengths in the institution educational system. Any institution that does not show sufficient progress each year will be asked to improve and be subjected to immediate intercession. Many times instructors speak about corrective utilization of data to enhance instruction (Mathews, 2002). From the time when the NCLB legislation was passed, Washington State’s instructors have constantly heard that low score on the national or state tests equate to failure, and constant failure equates to intercession. Few instructors appear to be in a position to articulate on how they may utilize data effectively in order to improve learning and teaching. The utilization of the data in the academic environment remains an indefinable skill and concept. However, the manner in which data should be used in decision making is not difficult to execute (American Association of School Administrators, 2002). Therefore, this paper will discuss the relationship of educational data and decision making in the academic environment.
Understanding Data Possibility
Comprehending and utilizing data in academic institutions and in student performance are crucial to enhancing the schools; however, schools do not often use the data they have in decision making. For many years, the leaders of the schools decided on the instructional leadership through the influence of “shooting from the hip” and “intuition.” In addition, many times they do not include data gathering and data assessment or analysis in their decision-making process (Mathews, 2002). If the school does not analyze and discuss the data, they are not likely to recognize and find solutions to the issues that require attention, and identify suitable intercessions to resolve those issues. Without utilization of the data to direct them towards their objectives, many times school leaders base their decisions on speculation. The decisions made on speculation may result to a “random acts of improvement.” The leaders may make wrong decisions, which may affect the performance of the students negatively (National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2002).
Schools gather data to assist them establish whether they are achieving their objectives and function if their decision-making is driven by data. Academic leaders must not only comprehend the importance of consistency tests as well as other formal evaluations, but they should also assist their institution execute multiple performance measures of the students and more significantly, build a culture in the school by using these data. The school leaders today are very keen to avoid making mistakes that will affect children’s education performance as a result of superior stakes environment (Armstrong and Anthes, 2001). Instructors cannot wait for years or months to make a decision on what need to be done. For example, to have a loan from industry and business, institutional leaders require enhancing “just-in-time” advances by utilizing data to assist them make crucial decisions impacting on the student’s learning as well as attainment. Academic institution’s leaders should also construe and communicate the significance of data to the teachers, constituents-students, the members of the board, and the parent-making decisions based on fact and credibility (Armstrong and Anthes, 2001).
Amount of Data
Schools regularly collect data in large amounts, and in actual fact, they normally collect data in huge amounts than they need. However, they often not come up to scratch to make use of all the data they have collected (Creighton, 2001). In many situations, present data about the educational contributions, like the teachers’ qualifications and curricula rigor, are missing, and in many states, data on the educational results continue to confuse, to be unclear, and not evidently connected to the learning of the student (American Association of School Administrators, 2002). Policymakers and instructors lack access to quality data and they are not able to comprehend, analyze and utilize data that currently exist. This is as a result of lack of training in data assessment on the side of the teachers and the school leaders and they also lack support and tools (Creighton, 2001).
In the State of Washington, from a few school’s, leaders from several districts, it seems that the utilization of and willingness to execute decisions driven by data in practice mirrors the situation in the country. It is difficult to identify “traditions” around the utilization of the data in the institutions (American Association of School Administrators, 2002). Innovative utilization of the decision making driven by data was frequently recognized as remote incidents of personal lone teacher or school leader. Although, there exist a number of indications of organized utilization and data support in districts, real utilization and data support could simply be misleading (Glasman, 1994). For instance, a number of huge school districts, and principals frequently noted that staff members from the district office who offer the explanation of the student as well as the school data, with no input from the school employees. In addition, school heads obtain data reports printed at the district office rather than on their desktop. This is frequently the situation because the districts lack online databases that would allow principals to assess data flexibility as well as in real-time. However, it put a ceiling on the data the principal need and the decisions making time. In a small school at the district level, the principal are left with the data analysis with no support from the district (American Association of School Administrators, 2002).
It is advisable that programs prepared by the administration reports that the curricula does not sufficiently address decision making driven by data. Students operating in these programs get an important fraction of education through the use of internships with principals on the ground. Therefore, students’ experiences with decision making driven by data may be established by internship placement (Doyle, 2003).
The leaders of the schools require resources and tools that assist them to see clearly and that offer significant information promptly and dependably for the school and also for the tutors. Some schools leaders have a strong need to better comprehend the data that is matched by dissatisfaction as a result of need for training opportunities. When instructors can draw assumptions from the data, they are able to discover the required change direction, identify students requiring intercession, and identify advances providing promising results to assist students’ achievement (Streifer, 2002). The utilization of the multiple, and occasionally creative, data sources that enables the leaders of the schools to make some corrections and constant enhancement toward academic achievement by learners. Interoperable data systems are the bottom line to enhanced provision of resources, superior management efficiency, and online appraisals of scholar performance that empower instructors to truly transform teaching and personalize instruction (Technology-alliance.com, 2011).
Utilization of data efficiently should play the main role in the growth of the school developments plans as well as in decisions needed to be made daily by the educators. The utilization of data may be powerful and affirmative educational instrument. Schools that employ in decisions driven by data have information that measures the progress of the students in achieving standards and also allows them to evaluate present and the future requirements of parents, students, community and staff; establish if objectives are being achieved; enhance instruction; recognize the causes of the issues; make sure the students are not at fault; and engage in constant school enhancement as well as alternative ways to enhance student progress (Doyle, 2003).
The principals and school administrators should learn to utilize as well as believe in data based on fact when making administrative decisions. In alliance with NCLB, the amended standards for the Advanced Programs should serve as leadership training program for the school and may be utilized as keystone for professional enhancement of the existing administrators of the school. Decisions driven by data is essential to the skills of the school administrators in the leadership values of the school vision, organization, instruction, collaborative partnerships, huge-context politics and moral perspective. Therefore, it advisable that the decision makers should gather data first before making any decision, as decision without data, may result to severe consequences, whereas decision with data will result to successful decision. From the above information, it is evident that the education data and decision making with the academic has a great relationship.