Thursday, October 17, 2013

Data driven or driven by data...?

I don't know about you, but there seems to be a trend that's been gaining momentum for quite some time now.

This trend is quite evident as almost all education employers are asking about it and looking for it in the interview process.

They are looking for you to say, 'I'm data driven and I am always using data to drive my decision making process.' Basically, they want to know that you recognize there is some form of accountability for your actions, and gut feelings don't cut it anymore.

It's almost a guarantee that if you don't mention being 'data driven' in an interview, your chances of getting the job drop drastically. I'm sure there's some data to support this claim...

Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy the occasional data party when I sit down with excel spreadsheet upon excel spreadsheet to 'crunch the numbers.' There is quite a lot that can be learned from data and there is a lot that can be gained by knowing the root cause of something.

Having said that, I question our fixation and ever-growing thirst for data.
I think we are drowning ourselves and drowning each other with data. We have data on everything you could ever want to quantify. Heck, we even have data about the data we've collected.

So, like I said, I'm not saying data is evil and I'm not saying we should completely ignore data. But, I do think we need to recognize data overload and recognize what happens when we lose sight of the 'grey.'

As educators, we all know that a lot of things fall in the 'grey' area and don't exactly fit in the black and white model. Knowing that, we can't just focus on those things that are quantitative, we must also recognize and consider those that are qualitative.

Remember, from time to time you should probably ask yourself, are you data driven or driven by data?