Data informs practice

Data informs practice is a research-based measure from the Tell Them From Me surveys. It is a source of evidence linked to What works best and the School Excellence Framework.

What is it?

The use of student assessment data is an important part of educational improvement, facilitating greater student outcomes. Educators can supplement traditional summative assessments, including quizzes and exams, with formative types of evaluation, such as self-assessments, that inform teaching and help to ensure that each student is continuously progressing.

The Tell Them From Me surveys ask teachers about the practices that they can employ to assess students and how they use the data obtained from this assessment to inform their teaching. The results are reported as teachers' average score for data informs practice.

Why is it important?

All forms of assessment data, both summative and formative, are essential to school improvement. The use of student assessment data can lead to improved teaching practices, greater teacher collaboration, and better identification of student's learning needs. Formative assessment methods provide particularly useful feedback that benefits both teachers and students. In order for teachers to effectively used student data, schools require structures to facilitate collaborative discussions, explicit links between student data and instructional improvement, and supportive school leaders.

School improvement links

School Excellence Framework element What works best theme
Data skills and use Use of data to inform practice

Evidence base

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education, 5(1), 7- 74.

Campbell, C., & Levin, B. (2009). Using data to support educational improvement. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 21(1), 47-65.

Chen, E., Heritage, M., & Lee, J. (2005). Identifying and monitoring students’ learning needs with technology. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 10(3), 309–332.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.

Murnane, R. J., Sharkey, N. S., & Boudett, K. P. (2005). Using student-assessment results to improve instruction: Lessons from a workshop. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 10(3), 269-280.

Volante, L. (2010). Assessment of, for, and as learning within schools: Implications for transforming classroom practice. Action in Teacher Education, 31(4), 66-75.

Wayman, J. C., & Stringfield, S. (2006). Technology-supported involvement of entire faculties in examination of student data for instructional improvement. American Journal of Education, 112(4), 549–571.

Image: This explainer has been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar

Explainers of the Tell Them From Me measures have been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar. The Tell Them From Me measures are provided by, and remain the intellectual property of, The Learning Bar. The explainers can also be found online within the Tell Them From Me portal. Tell Them From Me and TTFM are trademarks of The Learning Bar.


  • Student engagement and wellbeing
  • Tell Them From Me

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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