From the article "Data is more than just a four letter word," we have this statement:
“For me, data is a four-letter word. Some things we do aren’t easy to measure or prove, but I know they work, and I’m not going to stop doing them just because I can’t measure them!"
The author goes on to suggest we need a “data-light and learning-heavy” approach to data and evaluation.
Data doesn't always tell us a definitive answer of what that particular kid needs to motivate him or her. To know that we need to watch, listen, and understand that student. Data may give us the direction but it does not always provide the answers. For answers you need time to listen, to understand-- back to those fairly subjective approaches. And you need a caring professional to do that. Fortunately, our schools are full of caring adults... my faith is in them.