Data Driven Education

The role of data in determining successful students

3 Part Series on Education  

Data Driven Education

Data has proven to be invaluable as a tool to identify weak spots in curriculum and also as a way to identify students in need of academic intervention. With the focus on data, something else happened.  Education leaders, administrators, and teachers weren't talking about students as individuals, instead we began to hold data meetings and we started to refer to students simply as "above grade level", "at grade level", "progressing, but below grade level", or "needs improvement".  And instead of just missing a student as a person when they moved away, teachers began to lament they weren't going to be able to claim standardized test scores of the academically talented students.  At the same time, new students test scores began to be the first thing we checked to see how their scores would affect overall data for the upcoming testing season.  All of a sudden, students scores dominated conversation.  Those scores also now dominate teacher accountability and even the real estate markets in a given town.

We need an education reality check.  I recently, "Liked" a Facebook posting that read "I Care More About the Person My Students Become Than The Scores On The Tests They Take".  This doesn't mean I don't care about test scores and data.  It does mean that society needs people who have integrity and character. Learning and test scores are important as a way of measuring what students are learning.  Does it measure smart? What does smart mean?  Does it strictly mean a high test score?  Personally, I think data and test scores are part of the puzzle. Students can explain a concept but often can't write it.  Students can demonstrate a concept by creating a project but they may not be able to read a word or understand a word on a standardized test and lose points.  
Students need extra academic supports to increase their capacity to learn. Students with learning, physical, and emotional disorders also need special supports.  

Our schools need to be the center point of our communities because our children are the center point of our future.  If we invest in supporting our children academically and emotionally, we will invest in children who can not only answer questions right but also can face challenges and seek solutions.

Data is defining the self worth of our children, the value of a dedicated, compassionate caring teacher, and the marketability of our homes. 

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paul surette February 04, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Anna, the last good book I read was Pat Buchanan's Hitler, Churchill, and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World. It's his opinion on how we got involved in World War 2, and how maybe, it could have been avoided. I recommend it. :>)
Anna Bucciarelli February 04, 2013 at 11:03 AM
David ... all people have brains. How thoughtful they are and how they use their intelligence is another question and I believe that even "stooopid" folks often come up with wisdoms at times. In the Big Apple, long ago when I was a student in the public schools, there was no MCAS but we did need to pass the Regents exam to graduate from HS ... don't know if that's still the case, but the test was summary of all we should have learned in 12 years. Imagine that? Do times really change that much?
Anna Bucciarelli February 04, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Some people think you do need to be a nut to travel into the unknown. Not saying I do, just an observation on my part.
Anna Bucciarelli February 04, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Thanks for that recommendation. I particularly like anything to do with WWII, even fictional accounts and movies. Biographies are always great and am now on Jon Meecham's Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. Can't recommend, tho, since I just started it but it's lookin' good. Next on my list is The Passage of Power: the Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro, then on to The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965, by Wm. Manchester & Paul Reid. Can never exhaust the list of biographies but, in between, I will delight myself with simple fiction ... have a list of favorite authors I go to for escapism.


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