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Culture Can Wait: The Importance of Data Literacy (EDUCAUSE Review)

"There is a clear effort under way to encourage higher education institutions to create cultures of assessment and continuous quality improvement. This effort is directly tied to the mission of improving student success in higher education. As a director of institutional effectiveness and assessment in higher education—and purveyor of data and all things quality improvement—I believe an essential missed step needs greater attention. In order to have a true culture of assessment and continuous quality improvement, everyone—from leaders to adjuncts (and dare I say even students)—need to actually know what the data is that we are so concerned with, and therein lies the problem. Higher education institutions either do not have enough data or have too much data, but I would posit that the essential conundrum is that we don't know how to interpret or use the data to make the relevant improvements to drive student success."—Source: EDUCAUSE Review

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A focus on data literacy can help institutons create a specific kind of culture that serves both schools and students — we can only act appropriately to data if we truly know what it's saying. If an institution culture doesn't factor in support individual learners, it will ultimately fail.