The Problem with Data

Data is  atopic that has been addressed on this blog previously:

If you read those posts, it is going to become clear that I am not a fan of the fascination educators have developed for data. It can be a part of how we understand what is happening in our schools and how it may be improved, but educators and school leaders who focus too intently on data and seeks to “use data to inform our decision-making” are demonstrating they do not know how to collect or interpret data and what its role in decision-making is.

There are several authors in education, leadership, and management who have come to similar conclusions and who advocate their own version of a continuum or hierarchy that illustrates how data informs decisions. I have summarized these into this graphic:

data to wisdom

When I explain this to those who are surprised by my negative reaction to data, I focus on the fact that data is meaningless. Until we find the meaning in the data it cannot be used to support any decisions.