Capacity building by data team members to sustain schools' data use

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Data-based decision making in education has been emphasized globally in recent years. To support schools in their use of data, the data team procedure was implemented in Dutch secondary schools. A data team consists of six to eight educators at the same school. Collaboratively, they learn how to use data to analyze and address an educational problem in their school (e.g., high grade retention rates). Previous research illustrated that working with this procedure increased data team members’ knowledge and skills for data use. However, it was not yet known whether working with this procedure resulted in sustainable, school-wide data use. The main premise of this thesis was that the way in which data team members build capacity is helpful in understanding the way in which data use is sustained. Here, capacity building refers to data team members who develop both their own as their colleagues’ ability to use data through knowledge creation, sharing and brokering. This thesis demonstrated that data team members struggled to build capacity. For example, they created, shared and brokered more knowledge about the educational problem they were studying than about data use. Moreover, when they brokered their knowledge to their colleagues, they did so in ways less likely to be effective. In addition, data use was not (yet) sustained, which can be explained by the fact that all teams struggled to build capacity. This thesis further stressed that knowledge creation, sharing and brokerage, as well as sustainable school-wide change require more explicit attention and additional efforts, for example, by paying more attention to the transfer of the data team procedure from the team context to team members’ daily working life. In conclusion, insight into the process of capacity building proved to be an indispensable part of understanding the long-term dynamic between the intervention and the educational practice. When interventions target both capacity building and sustainability more clearly, it becomes more likely that schools will improve the quality of their education in the long run, which is, ultimately, what we want.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Pieters, J.M., Supervisor
  • Schildkamp, Kim, Co-Supervisor
  • Poortman, Cindy L., Co-Supervisor
Award date8 Sept 2016
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4178-7
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2016


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