Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

An Incipient Framework on the Factors that Make up Elementary Principals Data Literacy
Robert Przybylski, Ph.D.

For the past several decades, federal and state/provincial governments in the United States and Canada have devoted a great deal of time and effort to constructing initiatives and accountability measures in the hopes of improving student achievement. This has profoundly affected the roles that elementary school principals now must perform in the areas of leadership and decision making. In efforts to attain benchmarks, a certain level of literacy about data can be of significant benefit. However, the body of empirical literature on principal data literacy is limited and an understanding of the full potential of having principals’ data literate is still far-off. This study interviewed 12 elementary school principals from Alabama, California, Washington, and two Canadian provinces – Alberta and Ontario. Employing the research method of grounded theory, this study gathered information on principals’ knowledge/skills regarding data, the roles that data played at their respective schools, and the processes used when working with data. Findings revealed additional themes to current empirical literature from the past 10 years. Furthermore, the pressures of accountability measures in the form of benchmarks played a significant role when it came to planning school improvement initiatives. Merging evidence from interviews and empirical literature an incipient framework was created illustrating the factors that make up elementary principals data literacy.

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