Many in the blogosphere are having a good time with a statement made by Bill Gates that education schools are “not about research”. Clearly, there are some that are, including some that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has generously funded. In fairness, two points come to mind: (more…)
In April 25 of this year at an event on the campus of Johns Hopkins University titled The Future of Teaching: New Standards, New Tests, and New Evaluations — What does it all mean?, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten argued that teachers, in the work they do, are managers, saying:
Teaching, I don’t care who [which kinds of students] it is, teaching is incredibly hard — you are managing, (more…)
The recent announcement that there is now one more technology standard for educational data may seem to be an obscure technical detail with little relation to school and classroom practice. Those who think this might want to think again. The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) announced their Ed-Fi standard that is meant to help states integrate the data they are collecting about education, including student performance information. Ed-Fi joins a handful of other digital information standards that exist for educational and aims to provide integration for different types of systems. (more…)
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Susan Headden of Education Sector has written an excellent and balanced report on the DC Public Schools’ controversial IMPACT system that is used to evaluate teachers and instrumental in the dismissal of hundreds that were rated in the system as not effective. In Inside IMPACT: D.C.’s Model Teacher Evaluation System, Headden breaks down the system for the reader into its core components. She presents the perspectives of teachers who were evaluated; how they felt and what they liked and didn’t. She also presents the administration’s point of view, including Jason Kamras the former Teacher of the Year who is the architect of IMPACT. (more…)
A recent post by Joe Siedlecki and his colleagues of the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) makes a strong case for getting educators the skills to use data appropriately in their work. Few organizations, with the exception of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have invested so much in promoting data cultures and developing data tools.
Anyone in education who has been introduced to the term value-added modeling likely is aware of how difficult a topic it is when it has been applied to measuring teachers. I was at the American Federation of Teachers’ (AFT) bi-annual TEACH2011 conference this week and it was a subject of intense interest as AFT has been active in trying to define what makes a good value-added model from a poor one and also how these models might be used to make productive decisions about teachers. For more information about value-added models or VAMs as some call them, see here. (more…)
The recent revelation that much of the improvement reported by the Atlanta Public Schools was the tainted by widespread test cheating have added to the concerns about how test-driven reform is really working in schools. When added to the similar cheating scandals uncovered in Washington, DC, Baltimore, and supported at the highest levels may cause some to wonder if the data movement will be affected. (more…)
What are Value-added models (VAMs)? They are a kind of statistical model that has been used to evaluate the performance of teachers. VAMs have been developing since the 1990 and have been seen as an alternative to the achievement model (AYP) used in No Child Left Behind (NCLB). (more…)
The use of data in education is not like an instructional program that can be used or not used and that can be evaluated using a before and after study. It is a historical process that is sweeping over the field with no option of turning back. At every point that educators are collecting, using, and sharing information the ground is moving as soon as the walk upon it.
As with any great process of social change that involves technology, aspects of the way people live and work are changing. These changes to use data are unfortunately dominated by tests that often only measure a narrow band of what is important about learning and education. Nevertheless, they are part of a larger movement that is affecting the nature of teaching and who is responsible for it.
This blog is a place for presenting different views about this era that reflect the opportunities and challenges of using different kinds of information to manage instructional processes. Managing to Teach is about the challenges that this approach to education presents to teachers. Managing to Teach is also about teaching on a systemic scale where information provides visibility into the development of individual students and groups of students so that the educational system can provide optimal opportunities for all students.