Saturday, 7 May 2016

Week 23: Using evidence

Jonathan Gray wrote a very useful piece for The Guardian newspaper on the limits of data. It is well worth a read and is available from:
Gray offers the following pieces of advice about data:
  • Data is not a force unto itself. It is what individuals (or groups) do with data that brings meaning and power.
  • Data is not a perfect reflection of the world. The choices we make about data, including what we choose to collect, how we collect it, how we analyse it and how we interpret our analysis all influence the findings and conclusions we can make.
  • Data does not speak for itself. It requires interpretation and analysis (hopefully by knowledgeable individuals). In education especially, it needs to be understood within its particular context. This might be in relation to a particular class, school, community etc.
  • Interpreting data is not easy. Really understanding what the data is telling us can be very tricky.
Despite these cautions about data, the evidence you collect as part of your teaching inquiry can be very useful.
The following blog post provides some good ideas of how different types of evidence can be used by teachers:
Resources to support you
The TKI website contains some useful resources to support you in using evidence to inform your teaching practice.
For a general overview of the principles of data analysis go to:
For more specific tools and strategies that you can use, go to:
For a good overview of using evidence in schools have a look at the article published by The Digest and uploaded to the platform.
Tasks for this week
1. Read the class notes on interpreting and using evidence.
2. Check out the information available on the TKI website:
3. For more information and detail on using evidence read the article from The Digest uploaded to the portal (also available from Digest/1636_The-Digest-Issue-3-08_final.pdf).  

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