Book Review

Getting Excited About Data: How to Combine People, Passion, and Proof


Reviewed by Roberta Gerold,
Superintendent, Miller Place School District, Miller Place, N.Y.

 

We are bombarded by data. We are constantly figuring out what it really means and whether it has any real life meaning or application value. Data analysis can become a chore that we approach with apprehension, in a reactive rather than pro-active fashion.

In Getting Excited About Data: How to Combine People, Passion, and Proof, Edie L. Holcomb uses everyday language to provide us with a guide for how to sort out what data is important by understanding its applicability--and reminds us how to enjoy the process.

The fun, says Holcomb, comes to play when figuring out puzzles and communicating an understandable and validated message. She gives examples on how to do just that: how to warm up to data (with a "cheer and a jeer"); how to figure out what is significant (in real, not statistical, terms); how to figure out what "it" means; how to display data so it's user friendly and clear; and how to use the power of language to communicate (by remembering the intended audience at all times).

Holcomb provides the reader with strategies that encourage involvement and personal investment, using data pro-actively and for positive, productive reasons.

Getting Excited About Data sets a tone of accessibility that follows through to application. This book serves as a facilitator's guide to bringing about effective and appropriate use of data to better understand and improve teaching and learning.

sets a tone of accessibility that follows through to application. This book serves as a facilitator's guide to bringing about effective and appropriate use of data to better understand and improve teaching and learning.

(Getting Excited About Data: How to Combine People, Passion, and Proof by Edie L. Holcomb, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif. 1998, 144 pp., $27.95 softcover)