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Uses and abuses of data in professional development

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This message is in reply to:
Engaging with data - Brian Drayton

Posted by: Mark Jenness
Posted on: May 03, 2002 at 1:20 PM
Project staff, as should be expected, prefer to see data that supports the effectiveness of their work and so are often selective in which data they find credible and are likely to use. Most project staff are working very hard to accomplish their goals and when data doesn't support what they think is happening, they can become defensive and may dismiss the findings. The evaluator must establish a working relationship with staff so that they can be comfortable with data that doesn't always support their own beliefs. This is an instance where the evaluator must also be an educator and using their human relations skills to help staff use the data for improvement. We also find project staff focusing too much on "satisfaction" data and not enough on impact data. THat is, they like to see such data as "end-of-workshop" evaluations. They don't always want to see data from lesson observations, for example, that may not reflect the kind of results they expected.

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