Using Data Wisely

Gordon College has been selected to be part of the Data Wise Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Drs. Ellen Ballock, Janet Arndt and Priscilla Nelson (representing elementary education in both Undergraduate and Graduate Education Departments), along with Jerry Logan from our Provost’s Office and Barbara Kelly (principal of the Paul Revere Innovation School in Revere, MA), make up Gordon’s Data Wise team.

The field of education is becoming increasingly data-driven. Through the collection and analysis of appropriate data, schools can assess what individual students are learning, where they need help, and how teachers can provide that help. Together with principals and teachers from around the world, Gordon’s Data Wise team will work to use data more constructively to increase teacher effectiveness. “Simply put, the goal is to improve teaching and learning,” says Dr. Nelson, who chairs Gordon’s early childhood, elementary and special education programs. “Schools and teacher preparation programs have many sources of data; however, to improve teacher effectiveness, we need to make sense of this data. Data Wise is all about getting the right data and using it appropriately to continuously improve teacher preparation.”

The team kicked off its work in June for a week-long workshop on the Harvard campus. During that time, they organized existing data—such as supervising practitioner ratings of performance evidence—and determined what other data—such as elementary student assessment scores—will be necessary to answer their focus question: What does the evidence suggest about our graduates’ preparedness to make instructional decisions to meet the needs of all students? The team will continue data collection over the next six months.

“Making continued improvements in teaching and learning applies directly to Gordon’s approach to teacher preparation,” says Dr. Nelson. “This work will ultimately benefit Gordon graduates who become teachers, and their students in whatever school setting they serve.”

Data Wise team

L to R: Logan, Ballock, Arndt, Kelly, Nelson