From Whiteboard Advisors, Education Insiders predict the future:
From Whiteboard Advisors, Education Insiders predict the future:
Privacy and security concerns doomed the InBloom Student Data Repository, reports the New York Times. The Gates-funded non-profit, which offered to manage student records, will close.
The system was meant to extract student data from disparate school grading and attendance databases, store it in the cloud and funnel it to dashboards where teachers might more effectively track the progress of individual students.
But inBloom was set to collect more than academic data, notes the Times.
The inBloom database included more than 400 different data fields that school administrators could fill in.
. . . some of the details seemed so intimate — including family relationships (“foster parent” or “father’s significant other”) and reasons for enrollment changes (“withdrawn due to illness” or “leaving school as a victim of a serious violent incident”) — that parents objected, saying that they did not want that kind of information about their children transferred to a third-party vendor.
Parents in Louisiana were upset to learn their children’s Social Security numbers had been uploaded to inBloom.
With states and school districts bailing, inBloom wilted.
Christmas cheer raises test scores, concludes Brookings’ Matthew Chingos.
He crunches PISA data to show that scores are higher in countries where Christmas is a public holiday. (First step: Exclude Shanghai.)
That’s confirmed by NAEP scores on fourth-grade math performance from 1990 to 2013, which show test scores rise and fall with holiday cheer (measured by consumer spending in November and December).
Standardizing the NAEP scores and putting the spending index on a logarithmic scale implies that if we could just have about 30% more holiday spirit, our students would do as well as those in Finland!
Brilliant, writes Jay Greene. And the reason why “random-assignment and other research designs that more strongly identify causation are so important.”
John Owens quit a successful publishing career, studied education for a year in graduate school and became a writing teacher at a South Bronx high school that “considered itself a model of school reform.” It didn’t go well, Owens writes in Confessions of a Bad Teacher.
Owens talks to Ed Week Teacher‘s Hana Maruyama about his “heartbreaking” year as a teacher.
His principal was obsessed with data, says Owens, but the numbers were meaningless. “I had to put in 2,000 points of data a week for my kids. Everything from attendance to homework. But I also had to put in things like self-determination. I mean, what is self-determination?”
He was told he was a “bad teacher,” he complains. “If I were a good teacher, the kids who had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder would sit still and learn. If I were a good teacher, the kids who didn’t speak English would speak English. If I were a good teacher, all the problems that these kids faced would be solved in my 46 minutes a day with them.”
Many states are collecting extensive education data, but aren’t training teachers and parents in how to use the information effectively to help students learn, concludes the Data Quality Campaign.
Data should be used to improve student achievement and inform parents, not just for “shame and blame,” said Aimee Guidera, executive director of DQC.
Teaching the same cohort in fifth grade, she looked for ways for her students to explore their interest in data.
We used math websites like TenMarks that enable students to learn about their own learning even as they practice new skills. We analyzed information graphics and dove into ways of presenting numerical information. We explored how numbers shape our understanding of ourselves and the world. And much of their enthusiasm and curiosity for these tasks came out of their interest in numbers from standardized testing.
She now believes standardized testing can help teachers understand how well they’ve taught and help students become “agents in their own learning.”
Testing — and evaluation systems built on test scores — need to get a lot better, Bhatt writes. But it makes more sense “to work to create better data than to fight data.”
Data analysis is an increasingly significant and empowering way of making sense of the world. All sorts of professions use data to interpret their work and decide upon courses of action. Why shouldn’t we in education?
In the high tech world there’s a growing movement called “The Quantified Self.” With quantified self models, adults use data to change habits and behaviors–to lose weight, exercise more, to calm themselves.
“Why not help our students become makers and masters of their own data, and help them use it to propel their own learning forward?” Bhatt asks.
The Measured Man is a fascinating — and somewhat alarming — Atlantic profile of Larry Smarr, an astrophysicist, computer scientist and highly quantified human.
Miami-Dade’s school district has won the Broad Prize for Urban Education, after five years as a finalist, reports Ed Week.
More black and Hispanic students are scoring “advanced” on state tests and graduating, the foundation said. In addition, more students are taking the SATs and earning higher scores.
(Superintendent Alberto) Carvahlo drew attention to improvements in some of the district’s lowest-performing schools, which he attributed partly to the Data/COM (short for Data assessment, technical assistance, coordination of management, according to Carvalho) process. During Data/COM, school officials analyze a school’s challenges and debate solutions, Carvahlo said.
. . . The district’s budget has also improved dramatically under Carvalho’s tenure, which was noted by the jury. “This may seem strange, but we actually embraced the economic recession as an opportunity to leverage and accomplish change,” he said. The district found additional government and foundation funding and made sure all spending was directed at improving student achievement, Carvalho said.
Runner-ups were Palm Beach County (Florida), Houston and Corono-Norco (California).
Boston Superintendent Carol R. Johnson was honored as the best urban superintendent by the Council of Great City Schools.
Defusing myths about classroom data will help teachers reach all students, argues the Dell Foundation.
Can a few years’ data reveal bad teachers? The New York Times‘ Room for Debate takes on value-added analysis.
Few high schools track graduates to see if they’re succeeding in college or careers. Some states are linking high school and college data to evaluate success rates.
Also on Community College Spotlight: Community college construction has stopped in Los Angeles. The district has billions in bond money, but can’t afford to pay for building maintenance or for instructors to use the new space.