Data Driven

December 9, 2015

Tom Tomberlin, an SDP Fellow Alum, discusses how he uses data to help school districts improve and why he decided to continue his work with SDP in the following article by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

First as a Strategic Data Project fellow, then as a mentor, Tom Tomberlin, Ed.M.’06, Ed.D.’14, mines data to help school districts improve.

For Tom Tomberlin, Ed.M.’06, Ed.D.’14, the real questions in education reveal themselves in the numbers.

“I don’t think quantitative research answers questions. In fact, I think it raises questions,” Tomberlin says. “The real work is in understanding the context of where the data is playing out, what’s going on in the school, and what’s causing it to look this way — that’s where the real meat is.”

Tomberlin didn’t come to this realization until his studies at the Ed School were underway. It was in Professor Judy Singer’s statistics course that he discovered that the reality of quantitative research is that it has little to do with numbers and much more to do with interpretation and communication to practitioners.


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