NCTQ’s Teacher Prep Review 2013 Report released this month is getting criticized for a variety of reasons, which eSchool News (Stansbury, 2013) and Education Week (Sawchuk, 2013) do a great job summarizing. Despite the report's criticisms, it is important to note an area in which NCTQ deserves praise: its inclusion of an Assessment and Data standard. By including “individual and team analysis and interpretation of data (indicator 12.3)” as one of the evaluation criteria on its Assessment and Data standard rubric, NCTQ addresses a current problem with many educator preparation programs. Consider this timeline of facts:
- 70% of teachers and administrators have never taken a college or post graduate course in educational measurement (Zwick et al., 2008).
- Most people analyzing data have received no training on how to do so (Few, 2008).
- Most education stakeholders using data to help students have not been trained in statistics (Data Quality Campaign, 2009).
- Few teacher preparation programs cover topics like assessment data literacy (Halpin & Cauthen, 2011).
- Only 3 states have implemented policies and practices ensuring educators know how to analyze and use data appropriately (National Association of States Boards of Education, 2012).
Now that data use is so intrinsic to educator roles, it is important educators receive adequate support in data’s analysis and use before they are acting as teachers. Having been a teacher, site administrator, and district administrator, I have seen firsthand that practicing educators juggle massive demands that would terrify and defeat the average person. With data use being one more responsibility heaped on top of their full plates, it is imperative educators receive adequate support before – as opposed to simply while – they work with students.
Nonetheless, pre-service data training does not supplant the need for data systems and reports to provide over-the-counter data (OTCD) supports when communicating data to educators, just as someone with a degree in engineering would still benefit from directions when using a new tool. Though educators without adequate data training are especially in need of the data analysis guidance OTCD standards provide when added to any data system or report, any busy educator can benefit from the added help (in support of this assertion, I look forward to posting the significant results of my quantitative study after my oral defense).