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Data Use: Administrators’ Perspectives Open Access

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Administrators are under the intense pressures of accountability to meet expectations in both student achievement and school improvement. To survive the intensity, administrators must exercise data informed leadership of which the epicenter is effective data use. This descriptive study was designed to examine the perceptions of administrators’ data use through the framework of the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991). Specifically, the study examined their beliefs regarding the importance of data use, the data tasks and skills they perform in their current positons, and the extent of their preparation to use data from their administrative preparation program, as well as elicit their perceptions as to what data skills should be taught in preparation programs. Prior literature indicated that administrative programs were not adequately preparing administrators to effectively use data and it lacked the specificity as which data skills were most effective in the exercise of data informed leadership. Only a few studies offered a restricted examination of data use incorporated in an overall study but no study exclusively examined administrators’ data use through the three aspects of this framework. A slightly modified version of Sheboy’s (2006) administrators’ data use survey (ADUS) with a 5-point Likert scale was used in this study.The data indicate administrators’ have positive attitudes towards data use and regularly perform particular data tasks in their role as administrators. The data did not indicate agreement one way or the other regarding their preparation to use data though further analyses indicated a significant difference between the groups of administrators’ based on time periods since completing an administrative leadership program. The data indicate a strong agreement regarding the mandatory inclusion of certain data skills into preparation programs; the participants also provided very specific suggestions as to what other skills should be included in the preparation. Overall, though the findings indicate some improvement in the preparation of administrators in data use skills, there is still disconnect between what skills they perform, what they suggest should be required in preparation programs, and their actual preparation to use data. Keywords: data use, administrators’ perspectives, theory of planned behavior

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