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


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
Number of pages18
JournalResearch in Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • data
  • datafication
  • Digital
  • schools
  • secondary

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