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How to Become Data Literate

Now more than ever, educators are being held accountable by taxpayers, students, parents, government officials and the business community for supportable documentation of educational results. Data management has become everyone's job and everyone's concern. But the egression of data has exposed a raw nerve. The lack of comfort that many educators have in working with data poses a great challenge as school districts make the transition from a data rich to an information rich environment. How to Become Data Literate is the solution. It is clear that educators need the ability to formulate and answer questions using data as part of evidence-based thinking, selecting and using appropriate data tools, interpreting information from data, evaluating evidence-based differences, using data to solve real problems and communicating solutions. This book is intended to be a user-friendly, educator's primer. It will leave the reader with the confident attitude that "I can do this." In the long run, it is intended to underscore the magnificence of data. Decisions based on excellent data produce meaningful action strategies that benefit students, parents, staff, and the community at large.
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Table of Contents

Introduction The compelling case for data literacy One Speaking the language correctly Two Creating a snap shot of data with a picture Three Presenting a mountain of data with one number Four Understanding why range in your data is important Five Drawing a sample to represent a whole group Six Putting your assumptions to the test Seven T-tests: Examining differences between two groups Eight ANOVA: What if there are more than two groups? Nine Chi Square: Examining distributions for differences Ten Correlations: Detecting relationships Eleven Reporting your data clearly and strategically

About the Author

Susan Rovezzi Carroll, PhD, is president of Words & Numbers Research, Inc. a research and evaluation firm that she founded in 1984. Projects have included quasi-experimental designs, original instrument development, and data analysis using SPSS and HLM for the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. David Carroll is vice president of Words & Numbers Research, Inc. and his expertise involves the development of indicators for assessing performance outcomes. He offers demographic data analysis, marketing strategy and execution, and organizational development to clients in education and other non-profit settings.


In How to Become Data Literate, Susan Rovezzi Carroll and David J. Carroll, affiliated with Words & Numbers Research, provide succinct yet comprehensive support for administrators wading through applied basic quantitative statistics as a tool for data analysis. In fewer than 150 pages, the authors offer instruction for managing, manipulating, visualizing and interpreting the findings of data analysis projects...[T]he book provides support for administrators seeking to understand and use common statistical techniques. I plan to apply this text in the education courses I teach and will strongly recommend it to my doctoral students. But the text also should be considered by educational leaders looking for an introduction to or a refresher of quantitative statistics. If your work responsibilities include making sense of data and analyzing results from a practical, programmatic perspective, or if you need support for quantitative statistics courses that you might be taking, I suggest you consider this work. School Administrator As educators, we are increasingly called upon to make decisions for our districts, schools, classrooms, and individual students based on sometimes overwhelming amounts of frequently misunderstood data. This book is a much-needed gem, describing in easily understandable, straightforward language, the reasons for, uses of, and techniques for developing, manipulating and interpreting this data, ranging from mean, median and mode to ANOVA, Chi Square, and multiple regression. The data literacy described in this book is quite different from a poorly understood statistics textbook that many teachers remember from their graduate or undergraduate courses. This is something that every teacher and administrator will want to turn to again and again, as they frame questions and search for reliable, significant, evidence-based answers to critical issues they face every day. -- Linda Jensen Sheffield, Ph. D., Regents Professor Emerita, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY

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