You are here:

From Visible to Understandable: Designing for Teacher Agency in Education Data Visualizations

, , University of California, Irvine, United States ; , New York University, United States

CITE Journal Volume 21, Number 1, ISSN 1528-5804 Publisher: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, Waynesville, NC USA


In the United States, teachers are expected to analyze data to inform instruction and improve student learning. Despite investments in data tools, researchers find that teachers often interact with data visualizations in limited ways. Researchers have called for data interpretation training for preservice teachers to increase teachers’ interactions with data visualizations, but training alone may not be enough to spur pedagogical insights. Research suggests that helping teachers build personal connections with data may foster their own agency. However, little is known about how to provide agency-developing experiences for teachers more efficiently that respect both the time and resource constraints that teachers face in their daily work. This article presents a design experiment that explored whether giving preservice teachers the choice of which data to visualize impacted their connections with data. When compared with a control group who were not offered the chance of choosing their data (but only received data interpretation training), the authors found that participants who experienced the agency intervention reported a deeper connection with the underlying meanings of educational data. This intervention provides foundational evidence that facilitating agency-developing experiences may help educators to develop deeper sensemaking about educational data.


Ahn, J., Nguyen, H. & Campos, F. (2021). From Visible to Understandable: Designing for Teacher Agency in Education Data Visualizations. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 21(1), 155-186. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education. Retrieved June 13, 2021 from .