Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Lorenzo Baber


While data collection has increased at all levels of education in recent years, this is only part of the equation for institutions to make quality data-driven decisions. Advocates for data-driven decision-making (DDDM) typically assume that the primary resource needed to use data effectively to inform practice is access to data. While it is understood that access to data is critical for data analysis to take place, a countervailing assumption is that everyone in a school system already has the requisite knowledge and skill sets to analyze the data and take action based on the findings (Nunnaly, 2013). The National Research Council (1996) notes that, “far too often, more educational data are collected and analyzed than are used to make decisions or take action. A recent EDUCAUSE survey found that a majority of higher education institutions are collecting data, but are not using the data for predictive or actionable decisions (Bichsel, 2012). Data must be actionable and have utility for educators to use them to inform practice (Mandinach & Gummer, 2012). With the growing emphasis for educators to use data to inform their practice, little has been done to consider the means by which the educators can acquire the requisite data literacy skills (Mandinach, Friedman, & Gunner 2013).

The purpose of this study is to examine how variables such as data quality, infrastructure, professional development, and culture impact data-driven decision making participation among leaders at 15 Iowa community colleges. The quantitative findings from this study support the need for community colleges to invest time and resources into building a culture supportive of data-driven decision making. Based on the findings, implications for community college policy and practice and suggestions for future associated research are presented.


Copyright Owner

Matthew J. Schmit



File Format


File Size

150 pages