Journal of Educational Change

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 281–304 | Cite as

Student-involved data use: Establishing the evidence base

  • Jo Beth JimersonEmail author
  • Ellen Reames


In this conceptual paper, we map the research terrain on what we term “student-involved data use” (SIDU)—that is, the practice of having students track, chart, and analyze their own data in formal and structured ways. Drawing on peer-reviewed research as well as practitioner-oriented literature, social media, and district websites, we leverage a lens informed by goal achievement theory to highlight the potential benefits of SIDU as well as the possible dangers of implementing SIDU in haphazard ways. We begin by tracing the rise of the modern iteration of this data-driven practice, rooted in the application of principles associated with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria to the classroom level and to the teacher–student dyad. We then describe common components of the practice, including the use of student “data folders” or “data binders,” semi-public classroom “data walls,” and “quality tools” (such as the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle) that aim at building reflective practice among students. Beyond describing the increasingly popular practice, we note that the empirical base for SIDU is quite shallow at present: implementation is far outpacing the evidence on the processes involved in and outcomes of SIDU. Currently, practitioners and policymakers have little in the way of empirical evidence to guide efforts, potentially to the detriment of long-term educational outcomes. To this end, we posit a range of ways in which the research community can join in comprehensive inquiry efforts aimed at learning more about the conditions under which SIDU may be a positive and productive process for students.


Data-driven decision making (DDDM) Continuous improvement Educational data use Student-involved data use (SIDU) School reform School improvement Student data folders Data walls 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas Christian UniversityFort WorthUSA
  2. 2.Auburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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