PhD Defence Gert Gelderblom

The data team intervention: Its contribution to the development of teachers' ability to use data to improve instruction 

Gert Gelderblom is a PhD Student in the research group Educational Science, his supervisor is Professor Jules Pieters from the faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS)

Globally, data use for instructional improvement is drawing increasing attention. There are indications that data use can help teachers make the right decisions when it comes to adapting their instruction. However, research has shown that teachers do not always have enough knowledge and skills to use data and that professional development is necessary. For the purpose of this research, a data team intervention was used in order to provide professional development for teachers regarding data use for instructional improvement.

Teachers participating in the data team intervention form a team (4 – 7 teachers and a school leader and/or instructional coach) and study an educational problem by means of data, in order to develop improvement measures to solve the problem. The outcomes of this study show that teacher professional development by means of the data team intervention results in a significant increase in data literacy. Teachers also developed a more inquisitive attitude, data were analysed in more depth and there was less of a tendency to work towards solutions without an in-depth analysis of the root causes of the problems. The effects on classroom instruction by teachers are, first of all, changes in conceptual data use. Participating in the data team intervention has impact on the teachers’ way of thinking, work attitude, preparation of classroom instruction and their search for instructional improvement measures. There is also direct/instructional data use: participating in a data team resulted in immediate changes in classroom instruction, often based upon a literature review carried out by the data team or on conversations with colleagues in the data team. The changes in instruction took place in situations that were highly similar to the situations discussed within the data teams.