Don Passey has been exploring ways that data management systems in schools operate, how they are used and how they could be enhanced to support teacher needs since 2002. Don's latest review of data management and monitoring processes entitled ‘At the Heart of the Next Generation of Information Technology in Educational Management: Data Driven Discussion Making’ was recently published in an edited book.
Starting in 2002, Don was commissioned by the UK Government's Department for Education to look at how specific schools in challenging circumstances were using data management systems. This research led to a range of reports that highlighted limitations with aspects of existing data management systems and offered ways to enhance provision and access for teachers. A pilot development was commissioned, and the background and early developments were reported in a book chapter in 2007, entitled ‘Technology enhancing learning: Limited data handling facilities limit educational management potential’. The initial pilot developed a working system accessible to all secondary schools across one LA.
The pilot development brought different forms of data together so that teachers could compare results from different sources, as well as highlighting pupil results above and below expectations, and where data items were missing. The system provided ways to easily filter data and to switch between numeric and visual presentations of data. It was based on the range of needs identified from a series of direct teacher discussions.