Data-driven decision making in physical education : a case study




Dauenhauer, Brian Daniel

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The purpose of this study was to explore the data-driven decision making process within the context of K-12 physical education. Although the topic has received extraordinary attention in other areas of education, it has yet to be investigated directly in physical education settings. A conceptual framework proposed by Mandinach, Honey, Light, and Brunner (2008) guided the investigation. Using a multi-site case study design, one school district previously awarded a Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant served as the overarching case and eight schools within the district served as embedded cases. Eight physical education teachers, three district coordinators, one principal, and one school counselor participated in the study. Evidence was gathered through interviews, observations, documents, archival records, and artifacts. Analytic strategies such as pattern matching, examining rival explanations, and drawing diagrams were utilized to generate common themes within the data. Overall, findings indicated that physical education teachers collected substantial amounts of physical activity and fitness data aligned with policy requirements, often at the expense of data related to other important teaching domains. Evidence also indicated that teachers rarely transformed collected data into actionable knowledge. It seemed as though teachers were only collecting data because they were required to and held little value in the data once they were collected. Teachers reported that the data collection process was time-consuming and challenges associated with pedometers and information management systems served as barriers to the collection/organization process. In addition, professional development was not utilized to help teachers use data for effective teaching as district coordinators had limited access to teachers on designated professional development days. It is important to note that teachers had substantial concerns surrounding the validity and reliability of the data that were collected. This likely contributed to the low value that was placed upon data. Based upon the findings, ten recommendations for the enhancement of the DDDM process in physical education were generated. One of the most important recommendations is to provide physical education teachers with support in developing data literacy skills so they can take full advantage of the data they collect for the benefit of student learning.



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