A Shift in Role: The Perspectives of Ontario Secondary Principals Working in Data-Driven Environments
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This study occurred in 2009 and questioned how Ontario secondary school principals perceived their role had changed, over a 7 year period, in response to the increased demands of data-driven school environments. Specifically, it sought to identify principals' perceptions on how high-stakes testing and data-driven environments had affected their role, tasks, and accountability responsibilities. This study contextualized the emergence of the Education Quality and Accountability Offices (EQAO) as a central influence in the creation of data-driven school environments, and conceptualized the role of the principal as using data to inform and persuade a shift in thinking about the use of data to improve instruction and student achievement. The findings of the study suggest that data-driven environments had helped principals reclaim their positional power as instructional leaders, using data as an avenue back into the classroom. The use of data shifted the responsibilities of the principal to persuade teachers to work collaboratively to improve classroom instruction in order to demonstrate accountability.