Using Data in the Classroom

Peter Edward Joseph Kemp, Miles Berry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In recent years data has come to define more of what we do and, arguably, who we are. Jobs that were previously built on intuition now include the analysis of large datasets, with knowledge workers looking for patterns in data that can then be used to justify their actions. Our interactions with each other increasingly take place on digital platforms, mediated by data driven suggestions and interaction metrics, such as someone ‘liking’ the picture of your cat. Some have gone so far as to argue that we are entering a new human epoch, one defined by data and interactions between information processing agents, both human and machine (Floridi, 2014).

Schools have not escaped these changes, and whilst they have always used data, for example in the forms of registers and test results, data usage has taken on increased importance. Education is now driven by large scale quantitative research-informed practice and exam league tables. Student-teacher interactions are recorded in digital progress reports, student engagement in online lessons and homework is saved into databases for analysis by senior managers and tech companies, and the emergence of artificial intelligence asks for ever finer levels of student and teacher data which ed-tech firms can turn into educational interventions and potentially profit.

This chapter explores the different uses (and misuses) of data in the school system. It will give you an overview of how to use information to inform your practice as well as providing you with the tools to question the use of data by others. Underlying the arguments presented in this chapter is the idea that the effective use of data can lead to school improvement through helpful performance management and school accountability measures, correct identification of student

achievements leading to productive target setting, and the better deployment of staff and resources (Kirkup et al., 2005)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBecoming a Teacher
Subtitle of host publicationIssues in Secondary Education
EditorsSimon Gibbons, Richard Brock, Melissa Glackin, Elizabeth Rushton, Emma Towers
Place of PublicationMaidenhead
PublisherMcGraw Hill/Open University
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780335251674
ISBN (Print)9780335251667
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2023

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