Assessment, Evaluation, Data-informed decision making, Leadership, School inspection, School self-evaluation
The concept of data-informed decision making (DIDM), a term used interchangeably with data-driven decision making (DDDM) and data-based decision making (DBDM), is relatively new to Irish education and the school planning process. This research sought to clarify what data principals use and how they use that information for school improvement considering new school self-evaluation requirements. The paper begins by charting the rise internationally of data use in school planning, decision making and accountability. It proceeds to describe the policy context in this area in Ireland and then reports recent research with school leaders around how data is collected and used in their work. Although the paper focusses on Ireland, it is tentatively suggested that school leaders, teachers and policymakers in other countries, and there are many, which have come late to the expectation that school improvement and accountability should be heavily data-informed may find the efforts of Irish principals in this regard of interest.