5 Representing and sharing data with the school community
Data can be filed away and just used when requested rather than being shared. Alternatively, it can be used by you to create a favourable learning environment in your school. Some part of your office, classrooms or even your corridors could display the information you are collecting, which can be used throughout the year to inform your work. Raw data can be difficult to display. Displaying data visually in charts, lists, tables, maps, diagrams, pictograms, bar charts, pie charts, models or posters can make it easier to understand and interpret. Some of the data – such as the socio-economic composition of your students, or your teachers’ backgrounds – can hold true for the entire year. Other kinds of data could change or be added to over time, such as the health profile of the students. Be careful to ensure that any data you display does not make anyone feel ashamed or humiliated. It is very important that it should be presented so that individuals can be identified or singled out.
Activity 11: Sharing your findings and priorities
Write some ideas down in your Learning Diary about the following:
- How will you share your findings and identified priorities on an ongoing basis?
- You will need to identify who you need to share it with. To make this decision, think about who needs to have the information in order to challenge the status quo and those who need to ensure that barriers to learning do not hinder students from achieving their potential.
- Consider why you need to share data. What would be the purpose? How would it contribute to improving student learning?
Sometimes the difficulty in sharing is because the data is uncomfortable. Therefore, you will need to think carefully about how best to proceed and share it with others so that planning can be undertaken jointly to arrive at an action plan agreed upon by all. At the same time it is important to think about what data would be appropriate to share and what would not. For example, would it be appropriate to share your priority areas with parents so that they know which particular groups of students are struggling to reach their full potential? Would it be appropriate for students to know they are in a targeted group for interventions?
Data that is uncontroversial in one political context could be very sensitive in another. Some data will be very open to misinterpretation, and so will need careful management. The aim is always to achieve more equal learning outcomes, so the data should be presented in such a way that this goal is apparent. It is only by being explicit about the ‘Who?’, ‘How?’, ‘Why?’ and ‘What?’ questions that you can harness the data to make the maximum impact on your school community.