Another excerpt from my forthcoming book: The Educational data movement: crossing boundaries, searching for student success
The classical model of teaching centers on the role of the teacher as manager of the classroom, conveyer and evaluator of knowledge. In this model, teachers direct everything that happens for all the students inside a classroom. Once the door is closed, teachers usually decide what order the information will be taught, which students will sit together or work together, and how to gauge and measure student understanding. The classical model of teaching is part of a traditional school design where all of the staff are arranged in a way that supports teachers in this classical role. Schools that have specialists—usually reading, math, and special education—use those specialists to augment the traditional classroom teachers. (more…)
This is an extract from one of the chapters of my upcoming book titled: The Educational Data Movement: Crossing Boundaries, Searching for Student Success.
One of the greatest challenges of our time—of research, of school leadership, and now of measurement—is to define teaching or what teaching should be. The educational data movement occurs at time when there is great uncertainty about what it means to teach. The types of changes that education is going through, as other fields have before, impact jobs and roles and organizational structures. During this time, there has been a quest to describe the job of teachers in ways that can be used to compare teaching with other types of professions. The definition of teaching is an important factor in how we consider teachers using data in their jobs. Is their work mechanical to transmit knowledge or are they knowledge workers and knowledge creators? These are the kinds of questions that highlight what makes education different from other fields. (more…)
The recent release of Teacher Data Reports (TDR) in New York City made the problems with evaluations based on tests scores visible for many people. The idea of evaluating teachers based on how well their students do is a simple and wonderful idea. Using a statistical model that can factor in the student’s background and what they might be expected to learn – the value-added model (VAM) – is a great even better. The problem is while these are great ideas, the data that come from them often stinks. It isn’t always awful, but almost always imprecise and in some cases as the teacher who teaches English Language Learners (ELLs) in New York who was recently ranked at the bottom because the students she served were unable to score well on the tests for reasons outside of her control, the problems are grave. The TDR debacle has no doubt given many proponents of VAMs some second thoughts.
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 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:
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Teaching, I don’t care who [which kinds of students] it is, teaching is incredibly hard — you are managing, (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…)Leave a comment
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.