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Doing data differently: what counts for teachers in literacy classrooms

Doing data differently


Professor Cathy Burnett, Professor Guy Merchant

Project date


Gaining new insights into classroom literacy teaching by focusing on what teachers feel is important: a counterpoint to the narratives sustained by data from standardised testing.

This project is exploring how we might use quantitative data in creative, imaginative and personalised ways to find out about teachers’ everyday experiences of literacy provision, with a particular focus on aspects of experience that tend to escape more formal data gathering. We are interested in the potential for such work to produce new insights into what it is like to teach literacy.

The project aims to explore:

  • teachers’ perspectives on what matters in everyday classroom literacy provision;
  • what creative approaches to data visualisation might offer in helping to understand everyday literacy teaching;
  • the kind of teacher reflection prompted by making and sharing postcards;
  • teachers’ perspectives on the value of this process to their professional lives.

The outcomes will provide stakeholders, including policy-makers, teaching unions, educational leaders and parents, insights into the complexities of classroom life, and will generate a resource to stimulate discussion amongst teachers about aspects of their professional lives that are often overlooked in public and political discourses on schooling.


British Academy, Leverhulme Trust

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