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Exploring first-grade teachers’ use of data to inform early literacy instruction

Deborah Bohn and Peggy E. Johnson

Research has suggested that using early literacy data to inform instruction can prevent reading failure. However, little is known about how teachers learn to effectively link their instruction to student data. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate how first-grade teachers used early literacy student data to inform instruction. This study also explored factors that influenced teachers’ data use. Participants were 20 first-grade teachers in a suburban district located in the western part of the United States. Interviews, field notes, and documents provided a rich description of how these teachers learned to use data to inform their early literacy instruction. Results illustrate how leadership, professional development, useable data systems, and collaboration interacted to influence teachers’ data use. Findings indicate collaboration was a critical factor in advancing teachers’ use of data to inform their literacy instruction.

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