Publication Date



This paper describes the nature, use and importance of some powerful techniques through which teachers can use data to improve student learning. For a teacher, the central purpose of analysing data is to improve the learning of one or more particular students.That is, the individual teacher and the school take the students who come to them and seek to improve the learning of those students.This purpose is different from that of the sociologist seeking to understand patterns of participation, or that of the policy analyst seeking to understand the impact, if any, of policy settings.The possibly powerful generalisations about a handful of key variables produced by nomothetic analyses of large data sets often provide little guidance to the individual teacher, who must be concerned with the complex particularity of individual students and groups of students.