“It’s the People That Drive It”: Motivating and Supporting Collaborative Data Use Practices in Three Teacher Education Programs
Davis, Susannah Caitilin
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A proliferation of both state and federal accountability mandates encourage or require outcomes-based evaluation and evidence of data-informed program improvement in teacher education programs. Teacher educators are increasingly pressured to respond to these mandates with new assessments, data sources, data platforms and tools, data analysis activities, and data-driven program changes. However, little is known about how programs are responding to increased accountability and data use policies in ways that foster broadened stakeholder engagement in data use practices and decision making. This dissertation attempts to fill this gap by looking more directly at the nature and role of faculty, supervisor, and administrator engagement in collaborative data use in the context of teacher education. In addition, this study examines the organizational, cultural, and interpersonal resources that support or hinder broadened engagement in collaborative data use practices. Using a theoretical framework that integrates cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) and sociocultural perspectives on workplace learning, this qualitative multiple case study investigates how three teacher education programs situated in different institutional and geographic contexts shifted organizational structures, resources, norms, and social supports to encourage collaborative data use practices aimed primarily at program improvement. These three programs built commitment to and capacity for evidence-based program improvement in the face of significant tensions between increased accountability policies and organizational and faculty autonomy. Findings from this study indicate that in these three teacher education programs, motivating and supporting increased program member engagement in collective organizational goals and practices required developing interpersonal practices that helped align individual motives and goals with a collaboratively constructed collective agenda. These interpersonal bridging practices worked to bridge individual and collective motives, agency, knowledge, expertise, and responsibility. These practices supported the development of emerging cultural resources that fostered co-constructed collective motives, collective agency, common knowledge, distributed expertise, and a sense of shared responsibility. The process of developing capacity and support for broadened collaborative engagement in data use practices required simultaneous attention to organizational, cultural, and interpersonal resources to facilitate goal-oriented organizational change. Understanding how teacher education practitioners make sense of various types of data in their work, and learn in individual and programmatic ways through the process, is particularly important and timely given fast-moving teacher education accountability policy changes that have resulted in a surge of program data and outcomes-based requirements. This research contributes not only to the field of teacher education, but also to work on organizational learning and change, particularly within the CHAT tradition. Scholars in organizational learning, including those coming from a CHAT perspective, tend to prioritize the role of institutional structures and tools while underemphasizing the role of individual motivation, expertise, and agency in change processes. This research bridges structural and system-focused accounts of organizational learning with sociocultural, participation-based accounts of workplace learning in order to better understand the complex relationships among motivation, agency, and capacity in organizational change.
- Education - Seattle