A. Types of Data
B. Data Sources


A. Types of Data

Collecting data should be a planned, purposeful process.  Before you gather the data, you must determine what questions you are trying to answer. In other words, what do you need to know to help your students achieve? Then, you can proceed to collect the data that are relevant to the question at hand.

Four general categories of data are available in schools.

  1. Student Data -- enrollment, attendance, grade level, student discipline, ethnicity, gender, family background, language proficiency, etc.
  2. Assessment Data -- standardized test results, grade point averages, classroom quizzes, student portfolios, etc.
  3. Perceptions Data -- attitudes of students, parents, or community members, usually collected by questionnaires, surveys, interviews, or observations
  4. Program Data -- school programs, curricular initiatives, instructional strategies, classroom practices, etc.

Each of these data types can provide valuable information for instructional decisions.



Consider the following scenario. Ms. Doolittle, a 7th grade science teacher, is faced with an enormous task -- she must provide her principal with information about how the performance of her seventh graders improved within the school year. She must also provide information about specific instructional needs of her students and evaluate the success of a new the science program. As if this wasn't enough, the principal also wants to know how satisfied the community is with the school science program.

To get started Ms. Doolittle formulated four questions. Which type of data needs to be collected to answer each question (Student, Assessment, Perceptions, or Program)? How could it be collected?

  1. Has the performance of my students improved within this school year?
  2. What are the specific needs of my students?
  3. How successful is the science program at the school ?
  4. Are community members satisfied with the school science program? .