The moral and ethical challenges of principal data-driven decisions about annual growth data

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jamisa C. Williams (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kathy Hytten

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to determine the moral and ethical challenges principals face when making data-driven decisions guided by annual growth data. Annual growth data is the metric implemented by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction as a response to the No Child Left Behind Legislation. Under the legislation, states were empowered to hold local education agencies responsible for ensuring all students were performing on grade level. Principals are held responsible by the state accountability equation for ensuring their school obtains annual growth, indicating a student’s one year of academic learning. This research sought to understand how principals feel about using growth data and if they believe it is a quality metric to inform decision-making. Basic qualitative research was used to collect and analyze interview data from a pool of high school principal participants. The interview data were analyzed for codes and themes to develop a response to the research questions. Results indicate that principals are morally and ethically challenged when using these data to make instructional decisions but try to ensure that the best interest of the student is at the forefront of the adopted decision.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Annual growth data, Data-driven decisions, Ethical decision-making in education, Moral challenges in education, Principal decision-making

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