Attending to data: exploring the use of attendance data within the datafied school

Neil Selwyn, Luci Pangrazio, Bronwyn Cumbo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Contemporary schooling is seen to be altering significantly in light of a combined ‘digitisation’ and ‘datafication’ of key processes. This paper examines the nature and conditions of the datafied school by exploring how a relatively prosaic and longstanding school metric (student attendance data) is being produced and used in digital form. Drawing on empirical data taken from in-depth qualitative studies in three contrasting Australian secondary schools, the paper considers ‘anticipatory’, ‘analytical’ and ‘administrative’ aspects of how digitally-mediated attendance data is produced, used and imagined by school staff. Our findings foreground a number of constraints, compromises and inconsistencies that are usually glossed-over in enthusiasms for ‘data-driven’ education. It is argued that these findings highlight the messy realities of schools’ current relationships with digital data, and the broader logics of school datafications.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)72-89
    Number of pages18
    JournalResearch in Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • data
    • datafication
    • Digital
    • schools
    • secondary

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