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Today assessment data plays a crucial role in
informing decisions in educational settings. Decisions that are made are not
always beneficial to the children. Exploration is essential to whether the use
of data to inform decisions and standards reform is inclusive and allows all
children to succeed and progress. Previous to 2012, performance related pay was
non-existent. Educators did not have the added pressure to achieve enhanced
data results for their own economical benefit. Is assessment data is now a
reliable source? Hansen and
Jones’ (2011)
study supports this by reinforcing the idea that teacher assessments, and
therefore data, are systematically altered.

Why do we now use data as an assessment tool? Ideally we hope it would be to
improve learning, develop professional practice and provide achievement for
all. But in reality, educators are challenged. Today data percentages and
statistics now benefit the school in terms of reputation, legitimacy and resources.
Although many national policies continually emphasis the need for inclusion and
integration there is a problem. The number of children being categorised has
risen, it is suggested that this is due to schools earning additional funding
and resources for a higher percentage (Booth & Ainscow,1998).  Wroe and Halsall (2001) state
that extensive data collection is allowing schools to become data driven
organisations and leading them to be distracted with statistical information.
What should we be focusing on? We should be focussing on ensuring we are
providing quality teaching, a safe environment and inclusive practice. Many
schools are now using data based decision making (DBDM) as a way forward and a
catalyst to enhancing their setting.

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Opposing the idea of DBDM to inform standards based reform and promote
inclusivity, van Geel et al.(2016) state that too much emphasis is put on the use of data to base
decisions on. It is suggested that many assume that this will lead to increased
student achievement. In contrast, there is a limited amount of research that provides
realistic evidence on the positive effects of DBDM regarding the progression of
all children. However, the success rate and effect of DBDM differs across
schools. To support the statement regarding the insignificant amount of
evidence on the effects of data use, Hamilton et
(2009) also argue that we cannot draw solid conclusions
on the effects of data use as there is an insufficient amount of studies and
research. Karagiorgi et al. (2015) provide a solution; they suggest how data
should be used in an educational setting. They recommend seven stages of the
spiral model: data collection, analysis, planning,
implementation, monitoring and reflection. This model, combining all seven
features, was successfully applied in three different schools. By applying this
model, schools will enhance the inclusivity within their setting, ensuring all
children are being catered for.

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