How Do Teachers Make Sense of Data in the Context of High-Stakes Decision Making?

Kristin Vanlommel (Corresponding Author), Kim Schildkamp (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the way teachers make sense of data in the context of high-stakes decision making, such as decisions related to student placement in educational tracks. Different types of data, data collected rationally and intuitively, may be used in this sensemaking process, and the same data may be interpreted in different ways by different teachers. Results show that teachers base their decisions on rational processes only to a limited extent. Teachers collect a great amount of data intuitively, and they sometimes interpret data collected rationally by personal criteria and triangulate data to a very limited extent. Since fair educational decisions are informed by a rational collection and a transparent interpretation of data, implications for theory and practice are provided.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican educational research journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 26 Oct 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • data-based decision making
  • high-stakes decisions
  • intuition
  • sensemaking
  • data use


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