Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Second Advisor

Dr. Catherine Sielke

Third Advisor

Dr. Mark Jenness


This study examined the extent to which various types of commonly available data were used by staff for school-based decision making at 24 elementary schools in the Grand Rapids Public School district. The level of data use w as correlated with measures of school effectiveness. Further correlational analyses examined: (a) whether principals' attitudes toward data influenced the level of data use, (b) whether staff at more effective schools made exemplary or effective use of data to a greater degree, and (c) whether staff at more effective schools were more likely to overcome traditional barriers to data use.

School effectiveness was measured using three years of norm - referenced test scores. Overall school achievement and the size of the achievement gap between students from low and medium /high socioeconomic status were factored. A total of 343 teachers completed the Levels of Data Use Questionnaire. All 24 principals completed the Data Use Questionnaire for Principals.

The primary finding of this study is that there is a relationship between school effectiveness and data use, thus confirming other research which linked the use of data with effective schools. The findings also support the conclusion that staff from more effective schools are more likely than staff from less effective schools to overcome potential barriers to the use of data. A third conclusion supported by the findings is that principals appeared to influence the level of data use in their buildings through their attitudes toward data. The study was unable to demonstrate a relationship between a school's effectiveness factor and the extent to which staff reported making effective and /o r exemplary uses of data.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access