Beyond global discourses of data: Storying learning in schools 

Globally, schools and school education are increasingly influenced by and focused upon a whole array of different kinds of information – data.

There is much attention to particular kinds of data – especially numeric and standardised test data – in schools and schooling systems. However, much of the ‘headline-grabbing’ data do not capture the nature of the learning that actually occurs in schools; much of the media’s portrayal of data in schools is incomplete and often sensationalised. These ‘headline indicators’ only touch the surface of how data are understood and engaged by students, teachers, schools, and their communities. 

This project aims to understand how teachers and other educators in schools and school systems engage with a broader conception of data for enhanced learning, on a truly global scale, in schools serving diverse communities. The project will highlight the myriad of ways students, teachers, school leaders, system personnel and other educators in different national settings - England, Australia, Singapore and Bangladesh – work with data. The project will re-conceptualise how data are understood globally, through sharing detailed stories about school-based and system uses of data. Co-created stories involving students, teachers, school leaders and system personnel will illustrate diverse, ethical and innovative ways to foster student learning. These stories will show how students and educators engage with data to inform student learning, teachers’ work in classrooms, administrators’ work in schools and policy-makers’ work in systems.

Project Objectives:

To identify:

  1. Key forms of qualitative and quantitative data (global, national, local) drawn upon in schools and schooling systems in Australia, England, Singapore and Bangladesh, and how educators engage with data in these settings.
  2. The variety of ways in which students and educators, at different levels within schools and schooling systems engage with these data.
  3. Successful student learning outcomes and how these are characterised and achieved in relation to data.
  4. How students, teachers, school and system administrators, and other educators, mediate data and co-create data stories to enable more successful outcomes.

Meet the team

Associate Professor in Educational Studies in the School of Education, The University of Queensland, Australia.
Senior Lecturer in TESOL Education in the School of Education, The University of Queensland, Australia.
Associate Professor and Director of Higher Degree Research in the Faculty of Education, Southern Cross University.
Associate Professor in Educational Leadership and Management at the Centre for Research in Educational Leadership & Management (CRELM) at the University of Nottingham, UK.

Get in contact

To find out more about the project email Ian Hardy, project lead at