Date of Conferral

2014

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Patrick O"Shea

Abstract

This research addressed the data-driven process that teachers utilized to increase student scores on state tests, a process brought forth from a national concern with increased accountability. According to the district website, there is no consistent direction for data use and informal teacher interviews demonstrated varying levels of proficiency and understanding in using available data. Constructivism and learning styles from Vygotsky, Bandura, and Gardner informed this qualitative case study's theoretical framework, which centered on data-driven decision making for instruction. The research questions explored the experiences of middle school teachers in collecting and analyzing data, how the school supported the teachers' process of using data, and what support or knowledge teachers thought would help them more effectively use data to inform instructional decision making. This study gathered information through the use of open-ended questionnaires (n = 25) and follow-up interviews (n = 9), and documented the daily actions within the setting to enable a full understanding of the problem through observations of teacher meetings (n = 21). The data were analyzed using the constant comparative method, including descriptive coding and the formulation of characterized themes to summarize the concerns and needed support for teachers to use data more efficiently. Emergent themes revealed that time and collaboration were needed for effective data implementation. This research provided a voice for the teachers. In doing so, it identified goals for a project of increasing student performance by scheduling professional learning opportunities and fostering teacher confidence.