Amanda Datnow

Amanda Datnow
University of California, San Diego | UCSD · Department of Education Studies

Ph.D.

About

129
Publications
56,461
Reads
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4,477
Citations
Citations since 2017
39 Research Items
2144 Citations
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Introduction
Amanda Datnow is a Professor in the Department of Education Studies and Associate Dean of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. Her research focuses on educational reform and policy, particularly with regard to issues of equity and the professional lives of educators. Over the past decade, she has conducted numerous studies examining the use of data for instructional improvement, teacher collaboration, and leadership, as well as projects aimed at transformative educational change. She is also engaged in research-practice partnerships with local districts. Datnow’s work has been widely published in leading journals, and she is the author of eight books.
Additional affiliations
July 2008 - present
University of California, San Diego
Position
  • Professor (Full)
August 2003 - June 2008
University of Southern California
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
July 2000 - June 2003
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (129)
Article
This article provides 5 key principles of data use to guide leaders to promote deeper inquiry around data in their schools and districts so that all students have the opportunity to achieve at high levels. To create positive changes in classroom instruction, leaders must provide the conditions for teachers to examine data deeply in order improve ed...
Article
The education research community, both within the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and beyond, could and should play a critical role in fundamentally transforming educational institutions and systems. Given its complexity, transformative change in education is best undertaken as a collective endeavor. Yet for researchers to be a val...
Chapter
Attempts to improve schooling and better prepare students has translated into the development, adoption, and implementation of a wide variety of reform efforts. The case studies reviewed here of district and school level reforms show the value of depicting the reform policy process from a constructivist perspective involving structural, cultural, a...
Chapter
Ensuring equitable opportunities and outcomes for all students is a priority of many educators and policymakers across the globe. Data use can be an important lever for achieving equity, but how this can occur is not well understood. We discuss data use practices that influence equity goals: (1) accountability-driven data use and data use for conti...
Article
The work of principals has become increasingly challenging and complex, as they are expected to lead school improvement, manage -a host of competing demands, and attend to the needs of diverse stakeholders. However, the emotions related to principals’ work, particularly in relation to educational reform, has been understudied in recent years. This...
Article
Research-practice partnerships (RPPs) are intended to engage researchers and practitioners as equal partners to address urgent problems of practice. While this goal is clear, more remains to be learned about RPP efforts “on the ground.” This paper is written from our vantage point as qualitative researchers on a project that involved a multi-year p...
Article
Full-text available
Teachers’ professional lives and their role in change efforts have always been central to the Journal of Educational Change. Articles have addressed teachers’ motivation for and commitment to reform, their belief systems, their professionalism, their networks, and their professional development, among other topics. Unequivocally, teachers are centr...
Article
Schools are among the most studied organizations, yet research has little influence on them. This is in part because schools often do not have an opportunity to learn from the research projects they are engaged in. In this paper, we explain the process and impact of feeding back research results to participating schools. The feedback of results rel...
Chapter
Research on teacher collaboration as a lever for capacity building is vast, spanning international contexts. To facilitate collaboration, many districts and schools have dedicated time for groups of teachers to meet and exchange ideas, with the goal of improving instruction and promoting student learning. Collaboration meetings serve as opportuniti...
Article
Full-text available
Because learning from failures is just as important as learning from successes, we used qualitative case study data gathered in the Netherlands and the United States to examine instances in which data teams struggle to contribute to school improvement. Similar factors in both the Dutch and U.S. case hindered the work of the data teams, such as data...
Article
While schools and systems across the globe promote data-driven decision making, teachers often struggle to use data, especially from external assessments, to inform daily instruction. In this paper, we examine teacher capacity building for a less typical form of data use - evidence on student thinking. We draw on data from a longitudinal, in-depth...
Article
Accountability has been a major feature of educational policy making across the globe, including in the US where there is a persistent focus on student achievement results. This paper examines how accountability influences organizational routines in US schools, paying particular attention to meeting routines. We draw upon in-depth qualitative data...
Article
Purpose While the benefits of teacher collaboration are well documented, less is known about how emotions intersect with teachers’ collective work. Educational change is an emotional process, as reform efforts often involve shifts in teachers’ daily routines and professional identities. To better understand these complexities, the purpose of this p...
Article
Grounded in the belief that data will drive instructional change, data-driven decision making continues to be a prevalent reform strategy in schools. However, the use of data does not always prompt teachers to change their instructional practices, particularly in low-performing schools where accountability pressures loom large. Drawing on in-depth...
Article
Full-text available
Encouraging the use of data among teachers requires explicit directive action. Achieving this can have a significant impact on school improvement. Empirical studies, which both authors have directed in their respective countries, allow them to affirm from the evidence that, beyond the marked differences between both educational systems, there is a...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the intersection of teacher emotions, teacher collaboration and educational reform, particularly with respect to time, a key teacher resource that is often impacted in school change. Design/methodology/approach This paper draws upon data gathered in an in-depth, two-year qualitative case study of t...
Article
Full-text available
Ensuring equitable opportunities and outcomes for all students is a top priority of many educators and policymakers across the globe. Data use can be an important lever for achieving equity, but how this can occur is not well understood. In this article, we draw upon knowledge gained in a decade of in-depth qualitative research to examine the ways...
Article
Background Data-driven decision making continues to be a common feature of educational reform agendas across the globe. In many U.S. schools, the teacher team meeting is a key setting in which data use is intended to take place, with the aim of planning instruction to address students’ needs. However, most prior research has not examined how the us...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine how data are used in classroom placement routines. The authors explore educators’ assumptions about the purposes of the classroom placement routine, detailing the ostensive (i.e. structure and template) and performative aspects of the routine itself, and the implications of data use for equity and lea...
Article
Despite data-driven decision making being a ubiquitous part of policy and school reform efforts, little is known about how teachers use data for instructional decision making. Drawing on data from a qualitative case study of four elementary schools, we examine the logic and patterns of teacher decision making about differentiation and ability group...
Article
Full-text available
Data-driven decision making continues to be a growing educational reform initiative across the globe. The effective use of data requires that teachers develop the knowledge and skills to analyze and use data to improve instruction. The purpose of this article is to examine teachers’ capacity for and beliefs about data use. These issues are examined...
Article
Background: Data use has been promoted as a panacea for instructional improvement. However, the field lacks a detailed understanding of how teachers’ actually use assessment data to inform instruction and the factors that shape this process. Purpose: This paper provides a review of literature on teachers’ use of assessment data to inform instructi...
Book
This book is an essential guide to meeting the challenges of high-stakes accountability, building performance-based schools, and improving student outcomes. By following the advice in this book, you’ll be able to transform data overload into a data-positive school culture. You’ll learn the difference between “data-driven leadership” and “data-infor...
Article
Full-text available
In the context of shifting demographics in which more than 50% of the U.S. student population now belongs to a group that formerly would have been classified as “minority,” this report provides evidence from anthropological research on the factors that promote or impede educational persistence, particularly among underserved groups who now constitu...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose An increasing number of schools and districts across the US are requiring teachers to collaborate for the purpose of data‐driven decision making. Research suggests that both data use and teacher collaboration are important ingredients in the school improvement process. Existing studies also reveal the complexities of teacher collaboration a...
Article
Data driven decision making has become a popular reform effort across the globe. New issues are arising with respect to data use as educators move toward teaching students 21st century skills, as the implementation of Common Core standards begins in the US, and as other efforts are undertaken to make learning more student centered. This article rep...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This report, part of a broader project on student-centered learning, examines the role of school districts in advancing (or inhibiting) this strategy. Districts play a key role in determining what innovations will occur and be sustained in schools. We review research about high-performing school districts and the characteristics that have helped to...
Article
Full-text available
This article provides a context for understanding how social networks among teachers support or constrain school improvement in terms of instructional practice, professional development, and educational reform. It comments on the articles in this special issue, summarizing their contributions to the field. This analysis reveals several important le...
Article
Full-text available
The expectation that teachers will use student achievement data to improve their instruction is a major feature of national and local reform agendas. The theory of action behind data-driven decision making is a mostly causal model of professional action, whereby teachers diagnose weaknesses and implement solutions. The purpose of this article is to...
Article
Full-text available
The expectation that educators will use data in the service of school improvement and planning is a major feature of national and local reform agendas. Prior research has found that the principal plays a critical role in making policymakers’ visions for data use a reality at the school and classroom levels. Most prior studies, however, have not fle...
Article
Full-text available
Existing literature supports the inclusion of students in education reform, documenting benefits for both students and educators. When student voice is not included in reform efforts, these efforts are more likely to flounder. The emerging educational reform of data-driven decision making (DDDM) offers promise for increasing student achievement. Ho...
Article
Full-text available
Andy Hargreaves is internationally renowned for his work on many topics related to educational change. His work on how educational change shapes teachers’ work, particularly with respect to teacher collaboration, is well exemplified in his award-winning 1994 volume, Changing Teachers, Changing Times: Teachers’ Work and Culture in the Postmodern Age...
Article
In the midst of the worst recession the nation has seen in many decades, it is not surprising that poverty is increasing at an alarming rate. Data from the 2008 U.S. Census show that one in seven individuals is living in poverty according to the federal standards (those earning under $22,025 for a family of four; DeNavas-Wait, Proctor, & Smith, 200...
Article
This chapter offers a theory of how district, state, and federal contexts jointly shape the success of educational reform efforts at the school level. In order to describe the "co-construction" perspective of reform implementation, it examines data from a multiple case study of a current reform movement, data-driven decision making. An analysis of...
Article
The purpose of this article is to examine how the relationship between comprehensive school reform (CSR) and state accountability systems helps or hinders school improvement efforts. This article draws on case study data collected in schools in 3 states that received funding to implement reforms through the federal CSR program. Findings show that t...
Article
The purpose of this paper is to examine leadership practices in school systems that are implementing data-driven decision-making employing the theory of distributed leadership. With the advent of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) in the US, educational leaders are now required to analyse, interpret and use data to make informed decisions in a...
Chapter
The contemporary education policy marks a shift away from the idea that change happens organically, one school at a time. Instead, there is a focus on creating a systematic infrastructure to support change across a large number of schools at once. Within this decade, we have witnessed several types of large-scale reform efforts in the United States...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this article is to improve our understanding of data-driven decision-making strategies that are initiated at the district or system level. We apply principal-agent theory to the analysis of qualitative data gathered in a case study of 4 urban school systems. Our findings suggest educators at the school level need not only systemic su...
Article
This article focuses on how the Success for All Foundation (SFAF)—the nonprofit intermediary organization that promotes Success for All—works with educators in schools to increase capacity for learning and instruction. Success for All is a comprehensive school reform model that primarily centers on early literacy intervention. Building on research...
Article
In a case study of a racially mixed high school undertaking detrucking, gender politics among the teachers emerged as a shaping force in the reform effort. This paper examines the politics of representation among two factions of teachers at the school. The reform, led by a party of female teachers, was derailed as a coalition of male teachers emplo...
Article
Linguistic, ethnic, and economic diversity is a major factor influencing how school reform ought to be accomplished at local, state, and government levels. This book examines the issue of successful school reform in diverse communities. It is the first to synthesize research on educational research on educational reform pertaining to racially and l...
Article
Full-text available
The paper examines teachers’ emotions in the process of making sense of educational reforms. We draw upon concepts from sociological theory and education to inform our framework for understanding how emotions, as a social construct, directly and indirectly, influence teachers’ understandings. Using qualitative data gathered in a study of comprehens...
Article
Full-text available
This article is a summary of findings from an extensive review of literature of research on educational reform originating at or being supported by various systemic levels. The goal of this review was to gain a better understanding of the factors influencing the improvement of education for racially and linguistic minority youth. We report findings...
Article
Full-text available
Single-sex public schools are seen as a vehicle for improving the educational experiences of low-income and minority students. Our two-year ethnographic study of low-income and mi-nority students who attended experimental single-sex academies in California indicates that improving achievement involves more than separating students by gender. Using...
Article
This article addresses the sustainability of comprehensive school reform(CSR) models in the face of turbulent district and state contexts. It draws on qualitative data gathered in a longitudinal case study of six CSR models implemented in 13 schools in one urban district. Why do reforms sustain in some schools and not in others? How do changing sta...
Chapter
In this chapter, we examine key linkages between systemic levels that impact classroom and school-level educational reform. Clearly, reform requires coordinated support (Datnow & Kemper, 2002; Earl et al., 2003). There is much that policy-makers, politicians, researchers, other reform stakeholders, principals and teachers need to know in order to e...
Chapter
The purpose of this chapter is to discuss five key factors that contribute to supporting the successful implementation of comprehensive school reform. We discuss the effects of various systemic and school factors including: (1) the reform selection process; (2) leadership at site and district levels; (3) design team support and professional develop...
Book
Nina Bascia, Alister Cumming, Amanda Datnow, Kenneth Leithwood and David Livingstone This Handbook presents contemporary and emergent trends in educational policy research, in over ?fty chapters written by nearly ninety leading researchers from a number of countries. It is organized into ?ve broad sections which capture many of the current dominant...
Article
The goal of this chapter is to discuss a methodology for conducting classroom observations in culturally and linguistically diverse schools implementing externally developed reform designs. The classroom observation strategy discussed in this chapter was developed for a study entitled Scaling Up School Restructuring in Multicultural, Multilingual C...
Article
Improving teaching and learning, especially for culturally and linguistically diverse students, has been a constant goal of the education community. We have learned much over the past few decades, and every new reform addresses some aspect of schooling thought to affect outcomes for students. In many states and districts, standards have been raised...
Article
This article presents findings from a 4-year study of 13 culturally and linguistically diverse elementary schools implementing comprehensive school reform (CSR) models. The study focused on: (a) the actions at the state and district levels that facilitated or inhibited reform implementation; (b) the adaptability of the various reforms in multicultu...
Article
To understand Peter Hall’s work on social policy, it is heuristic to place it in the context of work that was done contemporaneously. Public policy studies in the late 1960s through the early 1980s concentrated in large part on the large-scale governmental policies such as the Great Society Programs of the Lyndon Johnson administration, Follow-thro...
Article
Abstract The purpose of this paper is to determine how activities at various policy levels – federal government, state, district, design team, and school – influence the
Article
The purpose of this article is to expose the politics that arise in the research and evaluation of school reform efforts. We draw on qualitative data gathered in a study of comprehensive school reform to elucidate methodological issues in several areas. We discuss how we were perceived as researchers, how participants used our research and our pres...
Article
In 1997, California became the first state to conduct large-scale experimentation with single gender public education. This longitudinal study examined the impact of single gender academies in six California districts, focusing on equity implications. Data from observations and interviews with educators, policymakers, and students indicated that fo...
Article
Drawing upon qualitative data gathered ina longitudinal study of 13 U.S. elementaryschools engaged in reform, this articleexamines how comprehensive school reform modelsare adapted as educators' ``co-constructed''reforms in their local contexts and thesustainability and expirations of reformefforts over time. Contextual features, frompractical circ...
Article
In this article, we present findings about the implementation of single gender public schooling in California - a movement that signifies a growing interest in school choice and private sector solutions to public education problems. we analyze qualitative data gathered in a study of 12 single gender academies (6 boys; 6 girls). As well-meaning educ...
Article
This article addresses issues of leadership in school reform with respect to the roles of the principal and the reform facilitator, a teacher who works full-time to support reform activities. The Success for All reform model is used as a case in point because it, like many other reforms, views leadership as critical to reform success. Using qualita...
Article
In this article, we present findings about the implementation of single gender public schooling in California—a movement that signifies a growing interest in school choice and private sector solutions to public education problems. We analyze qualitative data gathered in a study of 12 single gender academies (6 boys; 6 girls). As well-meaning educat...
Article
Full-text available
States, districts, and schools are promoting and attempting whole school improvement through the use of externally developed reform designs. This article examines how and why schools adopt reforms and the consequences of those processes for reform implementation and sustainability. Case study data are presented on 22 schools, and three types of ref...

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