Access, State Advocacy

Join the Conversation: Teacher Data Literacy Week 2020

Join the Conversation: Teacher Data Literacy Week 2020

If you are feeling like us here on Team DQC, this is not the month of April you were expecting or planning for. The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every aspect of our lives. People all over the world are experiencing unprecedented shifts in their health, finances, work and of course, education. While many of us are lucky to have the flexibility to work at home, these are not normal telecommuting days for so many families. The virus triggered unexpected school closures all across the country, largely leaving communities, educators, families and students scrambling to figure out how to navigate their new normal of distance learning. Over the past month or so, districts and schools have taken different approaches to providing remote instruction, take attendance, assess student learning and communicate with families remotely.

Given this unprecedented landscape, leading with data matters. Data gives educators and policy leaders the information they need to best support students and families through this period of distance learning. Data by itself, of course, is not a solution. And accessing data without being able to make meaning of it does not foster success. To be able to use data to support student success, data-literate educators collect, analyze, and make decisions based on data that best support student learning. For teachers, it has always been critical to be data literate. Now, as teachers navigate a new education delivery landscape, that skill set is even more important.

Eighty-six percent of teachers believe that using data is an important part of being effective in their jobs and 80 percent feel that using data to inform instruction is a valuable use of their time. Yet teachers report they face significant barriers to using that data effectively including lack of training, lack of administrative support, and lack of time to use data. Forty-five percent of teachers report that they taught themselves how to use data on the job. Teachers already had to go it alone to use data to help students succeed. And now with distance learning uprooting the traditional classroom, teachers should not have to fumble through using data when it matters for students more than ever.

It is clear that teachers are hungry for data literacy skills, but continue to face obstacles in using data to support student learning. Data literacy skills take time to develop, and are often taught during one-time professional development sessions or self-taught by teachers trying to master these skills on their ownTo ensure their students are prepared to meet education and workforce goals in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, state leaders must act immediately to prioritize strengthening their teacher pipeline with a strong focus on teacher data literacy training. This work is urgent and requires the collaborative efforts of state and local decision makers across the K–12 and higher education sectors.

With this urgent task in mind, Data Quality Campaign is kicking off Teacher Data Literacy Week 2020, our second annual conversation about the power of data to inform instruction, and the opportunities—and barriers—teachers face in using data as one tool in their toolbox. Join us and our partners for a week of conversations exploring why teacher data literacy matters more than ever for educators, families and students.

This blog is the first in a four-part series as part of DQC’s Teacher Data Literacy Week. Stay tuned for our upcoming blogs sharing researcher and teacher perspectives on the value of teacher data literacy in supporting student success. And don’t forget to join the conversation on social media throughout the week using #TDLMatters.


This blog post is also available as a story on Medium.