Master Class – Data-informed Decision Making in Professional Learning Networks: Data teams and students

Data-informed Decision Making in Professional Learning Networks: Data teams and students

Cindy Poortman and Kim Schildkamp

How can we increase student learning in our school? How can we enhance the wellbeing of our students? How can we improve the information literacy of our students?

Data can help answer these type of questions. An effective way to use data to improve education is via data teams (professional learning networks (PLNs) engaged in data use). Collaboratively addressing challenges and ambitions by using data helps teachers and school leaders (and students) to better address students’ needs. Although results in terms of teacher learning and practice are promising, the use of data in data teams does not automatically lead to school improvement. In this masterclass we will describe what successful data use (in data teams) looks like, and we will address the key role of distributed leadership for successful data teams and PLNs. We will also go into the important role of students in the data use process, not only as sources of data but as active participants in the use of data. We will provide you with guidelines on how to use data in PLNs with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of education!

Dr. Cindy Poortman is an associate professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. She is also the 4TU.CEE (Centre for Engineering Education) leader at the University of Twente.

Her research and teaching focus on teacher and school leader professional development in Professional Learning Networks (PLNs).

She has co-founded and is coordinating the network Professional Learning Networks within ICSEI (International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement). She obtained the AERA research conference grant Professional Learning Networks in Education: Tearing Down Boundaries for School and System Improvement to organize a research conference in San Diego in 2019. Cindy teaches in the teacher education program, in the honours program, in the senior university teaching qualification program, and as a guest lecturer for higher education programs and conferences Her publications include a book about the data teams; special issues about data use; and journal papers about teacher professional development in networks. She has also published books on professional learning networks, and is one of the series editors of the Professional Learning Networks book series (Emerald). For more information see:

Prof. Dr. Kim Schildkamp is a full professor in the Faculty of Behavioural, Management, and Social Sciences of the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Her chair is called “Data-informed decision making for learning and development”.

Her research and teaching focusses on professional development in the use of data and Artificial Intelligence in education. Kim is the past president of ICSEI (International Congress on School Effectiveness and Improvement). She has also been the chair of the so-called “Facilitating professional development of lecturers” zone of the Dutch national “Acceleration plan educational innovation with IT”. She is a Fulbright scholarship recipient, which she used to study data use in Louisiana. She developed the data team® procedure, which has been used in different countries (e.g., The Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium), and has received the European Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning (EAPRIL) best research-practice award. She has published widely on the use of (assessment) data. She has received numerous of grants from NWO/NRO, the EU (Erasmus plus, Comenius), The Spencer Foundation, The Ministry of Education, STW (Sience and Technology fund, the Netherlands), and several school boards. For more information see