Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policies

Sub-Department

Educational Administration

First Advisor

Zach Kelehear

Abstract

This quantitative study of South Carolina middle school principals investigated how these principals use data in decision making. The P3DMI developed by Childress (2009) was incorporated into the survey to evaluate the role data plays in four areas of leadership for these principals: 1) school vision, 2) school instruction, 3) school organization, and 4) collaborative partnerships. In addition, principals were asked to identify the types of data that they use in decision making and if they used a data team process in their school. For those principals responding that a data team process was used in their school, additional questions were used to identify the key practices used by their data teams. The findings showed that South Carolina middle school principals are using data in decision making and that a majority of the schools have a data team process. The means for the four leadership domains were statistically significant and further analysis showed that principals used data most frequently in the area of school instruction. Data teams were reported by principals as being used in 88% of their schools. The six data team practices were evaluated to be statistically significant with the practice of writing SMART goals used most frequently.

It appears accountability is here to stay and will require principals to learn how to use data more effectively if school improvement continues to be the goal of education.

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