Driver of Student Learning: Data Informs Practice Print or save as PDF

How is it defined?

The use of student assessment data is an important part of educational improvement, facilitating greater student outcomes (Campbell & Levin, 2009). Educators can supplement traditional summative assessments, including quizzes and exams, with formative types of evaluation, such as self-assessments, that inform teaching and engage students in their learning and progress (Black & Wiliam, 1998; Volante, 2010). All forms of assessment data, both summative and formative, are essential to school improvement (Volante, 2010).

The Learning Bar’s Teacher Survey is a self-evaluation tool for teachers that is based on ‘effective schools’ research, consisting of eight of the most important variables associated with the drivers of student learning, and coupled with the Outward Bound model of teaching and learning covered in John Hattie’s book, Visible Learning (Hattie, 2009).

Why is it important?

  • Improving actions and outcomes through the use, understanding and application of data is considered a required skill for all educators (Campbell & Levin, 2009).
  • In order to effectively use student data schools require structure to engage in relevant group discussions, encouragement to link data to instructional improvement, and supportive school leaders (Murnane, Sharkey, & Boudett, 2005).
  • Formative assessment methods provide feedback that benefits both teachers and students (Black & Wiliam, 1998).
  • The use of data results in improved teaching practices, greater teacher collaboration, and better identification of student’s learning needs (Chen, Heritage, & Lee, 2005; Wayman & Stringfield, 2006).

How do we measure it?

Teachers respond to eight items on a five-point scale which is scored as follows: 0 (Strongly Disagree), 1 (Disagree), 2 (Neither Agree nor Disagree), 3 (Agree), and 4 (Strongly Agree). The data are scaled on a 10-point scale and the results are reported as ‘the average score for data informs practice’.



Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education5(1), 7-74.

Campbell, C., & Levin, B. (2009). Using data to support educational improvement. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability21(1), 47-65.

Chen, E., Heritage, M., & Lee, J. (2005). Identifying and monitoring students’ learning needs with technology. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 10(3), 309-332.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.

Murnane, R. J., Sharkey, N. S., & Boudett, K. P. (2005). Using student-assessment results to improve instruction: Lessons from a workshop. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk10(3), 269-280.

Volante, L. (2010). Assessment of, for, and as learning within schools: Implications for transforming classroom practice. Action in Teacher Education31(4), 66-75.

Wayman, J. C., & Stringfield, S. (2006). Technology-supported involvement of entire faculties in examination of student data for instructional improvement. American Journal of Education, 112(4), 549-571.

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