How academic deans support data-driven decision making in high schools: a case study to examine perceptions from district leaders, principals, academic deans, and teachers
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There continues to be a growing body of literature regarding data-driven decision making practices in elementary and middle schools; however, there is limited literature regarding the practices in the high school environment, especially as they are juxtaposed against the role of the academic dean. The purpose of this study was to identify the functions of an academic dean and how the role supports data-driven decision making and changes in instructional practices. The study followed a qualitative methodology approach, a case study design and was guided by an interpretivist paradigm; it took place at a public high school in central Texas. Participants consisted of a district leader, principal, assistant principals, the academic dean, department chairs, and teachers whose perceptions and understandings were gathered individually or through focus group interviews. This study addressed the following research questions: (1) What is the role of the academic dean with data analysis activities? (2) How does role of the academic dean support principals in using data to make effective instructional decisions? (3) How does the role of the academic dean support teachers in using data to change instructional practices? Based on the three research questions and cross-analysis of participant responses five significant findings emerged. These five significant findings included: (1) Types of data analysis activities; (2) Provide a data culture and climate; (3) Challenges encountered by the academic dean with data analysis activities; (4) Promote a climate of trust through cognitive coaching; (5) Support instructional capacity through clinical coaching. There were also two subcategories that emerged not commonly shared: (1) Challenges of understanding the role of the academic dean and (2) Data expertise.