kitchen table math, the sequel: data in schools

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

data in schools

“In education, data has traditionally been used for punitive purposes, not for improvement...”
March 7, 2011, 10:05 pm
Coming Together to Give Schools a Boost
Reading Bornstein's article over breakfast this morning, I had a revelation.

For years now, a number of us have pressed our school district to assess student learning and adjust instruction accordingly -- i.e., to use formative assessment. We've gotten nowhere, and I've tended to see the district as 'allergic' to measurement in general.

But in fact, my district owns cutting-edge software that tracks disciplinary actions. When a student is sent to the office, the principal can instantly pull up his entire computerized disciplinary record and read out loud all of the bad things the student has done going back for years. I don't know whether the current principal of the middle school actually does this, but his predecessor did. He would fire up his computer and take the student on a little trip down memory lane: all the bad memories, none of the good.

Of course, I doubt the district has used its computerized disciplinary records as a means to monitor improvements in student behavior. The district essentially never sets measurable goals of any kind.

But still.

We have cutting-edge software to track misbehavior and disciplinary actions.

We don't have cutting-edge software to track student learning.


Anonymous said...

Several schools in our school district (Washington County Utah) have started doing this kind of assessment and intervention with individual students. They've had such amazing results that the school district is passing a resolution today requiring all schools and teachers to participate. They call them Professional Learning Communities or PLC's.

From today's newspaper:

"The resolution in support of PLCs would require each educator in the district to participate in the PLC activities, part of a collaborative effort to achieve better results from students by continuously analyzing performance and intervening where necessary with individual students."

Catherine Johnson said...

Anonymous - THANK YOU!!!!!!


Catherine Johnson said...

I've lobbied so hard for PLCs here ("professional learning communities") that the administration has now created a special room in the h.s. library, next door to the room where BOE meetings are held, with a sign over the door that SAYS: "Professional Learning Community."

We have a Professional Learning Community room, but we don't have actual Professional Learning Communities.

Grace said...

New York State mandates "Violent and Disruptive Incident Reports" (VADIR). So it's apparently a priority determined by the state.

However, as with much of this data, I'm not sure it's used in a systematic way to measure and improve anything.