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Home Publications How Nebraska Teachers Use and Perceive Summative, Interim, and Formative Data

How Nebraska Teachers Use and Perceive Summative, Interim, and Formative Data

by Mary Klute, Jing Liu, Beth Peery and Stephanie Wilkerson

Teachers have access to more data than ever before, including summative (state-level), interim (benchmark-level), and formative (classroom-level) data. Yet research on how often and why teachers use each type of data is scarce. The Nebraska Department of Education partnered with the Regional Educational Laboratory Central to conduct a study of teachers and principals in 353 Nebraska schools to learn about teachers' use and perceptions of summative, interim, and formative data and inform a state-level professional learning plan to support teachers' data use. The results indicated that 29 percent of teachers did not use summative data, 21 percent did not use interim data, and 6 percent did not use formative data. Among teachers who reported using each type of data, teachers used formative data almost weekly and interim data about monthly to tailor instruction, identify instructional content, recommend additional student support, and group students. Teachers used summative, interim, and formative data least often in discussions about student learning with principals, colleagues, parents, and students. Teachers with 12 or fewer years of experience in education reported using formative data more often than did teachers with 22 or more years of experience. Teachers' perceived competence in using data, their attitudes toward data, and their perceptions of organizational supports for using data (professional learning, principal leadership, and computer systems) were each positively associated with their use of data to inform instruction. When teachers reported greater perceived competence in using data, more positive attitudes toward data, or more organizational supports for using data, they more often used formative and interim data to inform instruction. Teachers with a more-advanced degree (education specialist or doctoral degree) reported feeling more competent in using data and having more positive attitudes toward data than did teachers with a bachelor's degree. [For the appendixes, see ED610181; for the study brief, see ED610183; for the study snapshot, see ED610184.]

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