Sebastian WursterDirk Richter

Use of student performance data of state-wide comparison tests and centralized examinations for instructional improvement in Brandenburg


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Results of state-wide comparison tests (VERA) and centralized examinations provide an important data base for improving the quality of instruction. Within the school, the conference of teachers of the individual departments plays a key role in processing the test results and in initiating activities that lead to instructional change. This study investigates to what extent the results of VERA and the intermediate school-leaving certificate (MSA) are used in teacher conferences in the federal state Brandenburg (N = 98). We further examined if the use of data differs between the two tests, if teachers use the data of both tests simultaneously, and what factors (attitudes and organizational characteristics) predict the data use. VERA and MSA results are used in the majority of teacher conferences for the improvement of class assignments. The initiation of data-driven instructional improvement is carried out most often based on both data sources. Nevertheless, our findings show that MSA results were more frequently used and were considered more useful than the results of VERA. Significant predictors for data use of VERA results are perceived usefulness and whether the school’s curriculum is based on national educational standards. In contrast, data use of MSA results is associated primarily with the extent of collegial instructional improvement.

Evaluation; State-wide comparison tests; Centralized examinations; Data use; Data-based decision making