What’s wrong with this picture? A response to “Training the Next Generation of Data Specialists”

If you haven’t read it, check out Training the Next Generation of Data Specialists at http://www.ed.gov/blog/2010/12/training-the-next-generation-of-data-specialists/.  Yes, that is ED.GOV in the URL.  This is an example of education reform gone awry.  Here are a few things that are wrong with this picture:

  • Are New York standards written to be taught sequentially?  While some students have skipped standards within the first broad category, it is pretty clear that Number Systems and Operations is being taught, or at least tested, out of context.
  • Mastery is determined based on performance on a Unit Test or Success Tracker.  I would love to see some examples of a unit test.  I bet providing correct answers doesn’t live up to my expectations for what constitutes a performance.  Success Tracker tests certainly don’t.
  • Is New York exempt from FERPA?  Those are student names in the left-most column and stars are a form of grades and are accompanied by a grading scale.  Perhaps ed.gov should check future blog posts against federal legislation.
  • Training is not teaching.

What’s on the verge of being right about this picture?

  • Kids get feedback and are involved in tracking their own progression through standards.  How can this teacher make the transition to mastery vs “progression through standards”?  That’s rooted in the assessments that are in use.
  • The teacher obviously cares about ensuring students progress through more standards.  How can this teacher make the transition to caring about kids learning in ways that matter?  Once again, I want to see the unit tests.  Maybe they are better than I am assuming they are.
  • Kids work to “self-remediate” (after they become aware of their “learning deficits”) and they “learn to advocate for and direct their own learning.”  How can this teacher make the transition to building even more capacity in his students to be self-regulated, self-monitoring students ala Costa and Kallick?

And, for action on my action step…an Einstein quote:

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

Please use the comment section here to share your thoughts about this guest blog hosted by the US Department of Education.

5 Responses to “What’s wrong with this picture? A response to “Training the Next Generation of Data Specialists””

  1. mlandahl Says:

    This is a great post and reflection on an overly simplistic way to use data in a classroom with kids. Thanks for writing this.

  2. aplusphysics Says:

    Sounds like a start toward Standards-Based Grading, but some more research and thinking to be done for strong implementation.

  3. aplusphysics Says:

    Sounds like a start toward Standards-Based Grading, but some more research and thinking to be done for strong implementation.

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