“Phil Piety’s book employs insights from the learning sciences to illuminate policies and practices for using information to improve American education. His analyses reveal deeply-held convictions by educators concerning uses of data and why some of the test-based policies of the educational data movement—including No Child Left Behind and value-added models for teacher evaluation—have turned out more challenging in practice than in theory. Piety highlights our need to understand the multi-layered social nature of education, recognize a number of fundamental characteristics of educational data, and to integrate design-based principles for enhancing the socio-technical activity we call schooling.”
—Roy Pea, David Jacks Professor of Education and Learning Sciences, Stanford University
“Unquestionably there has been a dramatic change in the collection and use of education data within a relatively short period of time. This critically important book highlights what constitutes the education data movement describing the vernacular of what every education researcher, practitioner, and policymaker needs to be aware of. Cautiously optimistic about the future, Piety points out the challenges educators will face as they struggle with their ever increasingly complex datasets and how they can be made useful for measuring learning, teacher quality, and organizational change.”
—Barbara Schneider is the John A. Hannah Chair and University Distinguished Professor in the College of Education at Michigan State University, and president of the American Educational Research Association, 2013-14.
“Everyone who wants to gain a better understanding of how data is transforming education should read this book. Piety’s analysis is comprehensive and covers every dimension of the American education system. He impressively connects the dots among the numerous institutions and actors that comprise the data movement. This book is a triumph.”
—Darrell West, Vice President and Director of the Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution
“Piety brings a fresh perspective to ‘the educational data movement,’ situating its emergence historically, linking it to developments in various institutional fields, and framing it as a ‘sociotechnical revolution.’ Essential reading! Both proponents and opponents of the ‘data movement’ will learn from this book.”
—James P. Spillane, Spencer T. & Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning & Organizational Change, Northwestern University
For better or worse, many educational decisions that were once handled on a personal level by teachers or administrators now increasingly rely upon data and information. To be successful in this era, educators need to understand this broad sociotechnical revolution and how it is realigning traditional roles and responsibilities. In this book, the author draws on his unique background in learning sciences, education policy, and information systems to provide valuable insights for both policy and practice. The text discusses many current topics including technology-rich methods of teacher evaluation, big data and analytics, longitudinal data systems, open educational resources, blended and personalized learning models, and new designs for teaching.
This comprehensive book:
• Examines the social and historical context of the educational data movement as it unfolds across educational levels.
• Synthesizes different research traditions from inside and outside of education.
• Assesses the successes, challenges, and potential of data analytics.
• Helps educators and innovators design technology-rich solutions for greater student success.
• Discusses the catalytic role that foundations have played in making education a more informational and evidence-based practice.
Philip J. Piety is a national expert in educational data, founder of Ed Info Connections, a benefit corporation serving to improve the information educators’ use, and a faculty affiliate of Johns Hopkins University.
Excerpt from the book Assessing the Educational Data Movement to be published in April, 2013
One of the issues to emerge in policy discourse and from funders as the educational data movement was taking hold involved personalized learning. While education has seen pendulum swings around standardization versus personalization for decades, what is new is the idea of using data and information to drive individual attention to student needs. While other fields are routinely using datasets about specific customers, and others like those customers, to present more relevant options and services, the classical model is still largely focused on providing the same options to students irrespective of what information about those students might suggest. What has been done in other fields is to use data about individuals to help segment and divide a large market into smaller groups to which services can be targeted. Of course, students within a classroom and teachers within a school are already part of a small group. It is possible that there are others like those students or those teachers in different locations that that data can provide some opportunities to see what types of approaches and tools work well with different students and teachers that have similar characteristics. (more…)Leave a comment
Big data is a new term that can imply both new forms data and new analytic techniques. While big data is routine for many businesses and some sciences, it is new to education. Two characteristics of big data (in addition to lots of data) are that different kinds of information – some more structured than others – are used together and that the data focus is developing deep understandings of systems and context rather than only on outcomes. Organizations that leverage big data are often able to understand those they serve, and their environment better; to isolate and focus on their external and internal challenges and monitor their efforts. In American education, there is hope that big data tools can be a lever for change. (more…)Leave a comment
Many of the proponents of educational data will use the phrase that “technology is the easy part” and then explain why changing cultures and behaviors of people using the data is where the real challenges lie. On the face of it, this proposition makes a lot of sense. (more…)Leave a comment
The past decade has seen increasing use of data collection and use in education along with principles from business for its use. The data were initially driven by high-stakes test scores following federal NCLB legislation and related programs around evidence. For many, data use is linked to NCLB, its narrow forms of data, and its failures. During this same decade other forms of data are often joining achievement data in data warehouses. New terms, including multiple measures for teacher evaluation and balanced scorecards for districts and schools, have been introduced to the discussion. Education has entered an era where information and data are being used in many ways similar to ways other fields and businesses to transform organizations for greater productivity and effectiveness. (more…)Leave a comment
As bolts are being taken out of the structure of NCLB, one area I have been thinking about is how over the last decade the Federal government has been expanding its role in the area of digital technology. What does this mean in a post-NCLB world? (more…)Leave a comment
How can we make online educational content findable and usable? Albert Einstein famously said that “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” (more…)Leave a comment
In a recent post in EducationNext, Eric Hanushek of the Hoover Institution asked why not have open tests? An open test would mean publishing online and in advance items that might be on an accountability test. IS HE CRAZY? This goes against all of the standard accepted protocols for test administration, protocols that require strict security over the tests in advance to prevent teachers drilling students on the questions they will receive thereby compromising the tests’ validity as instruments to independently assess student knowledge. (more…)Leave a comment
A recent discussion between David K. Cohen of the University of Michigan and the Fordham Institute’s Chris Tessone used the term infrastructure. Cohen, in an earlier post on ShankarBlog (from the American Federation of Teachers’ Shankar Institute), argued that individual reforms such as the DCPS IMPACT teacher performance review system were insufficient to fix the system overall. (more…)1 Comment
Across the nation educators and their technologists have been working to implement what is a seemingly simple information systems enhancement: linking the records for teachers with the records for students. This should seem to involve a matt of linking two different computer applications; a matter for programmers over a weekend. Linking teacher and student records should seem to be a matter for a couple of computer programmers on the weekend. Nothing could be further from the truth.