Data-Driven Decision Making: The Development and Validation of an Instrument to Measure Principals’ Practices
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 7 No. 1 (2006): Vol-7-Issue-1-January-2006
“In God we trust; all others must bring data” (Deming, 1986) captures the essence of the No Child Left
Behind (NCLB) Act (2001), which opened a new era of educational accountability and school
improvement in the USA. Schools are held accountable to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP),
which requires educators to closely monitor student performance on the high-stakes assessments.
NCLB significantly increases the pressure on states, districts, and schools to collect, analyze, and
report data. School leaders need to make evidence-based decisions and promote scientifically based
research for school improvement. Accountability demands are now forcing school leaders to explore
much more the granular data and to do more sophisticated analyses. Nationwide standards-based
control and outcome-based funding have brought data-driven decision making (DDDM) to the top of
every principal’s agenda (Leithwood, Aitken, & Jantzi, 2001; Thornton & Perreault, 2002).