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Student Data: Helpful or Limiting?

Student Data: Helpful or Limiting?

As more and more schools are utilizing the collection of student data to collectively improve, some wonder if data collection will limit creative instruction and instead further emphasize a testing culture.

Aside from the obvious use of standardized testing scores being used to track student ability, many schools use data to "improve everything from school bus routes and classroom cleanliness to reading comprehension and knowledge of algebraic equations," and many to much success, according to The New York Times.

The Times gives an example of a Texas school using student data to get more students active in school-sponsored activities. "After documenting a drop in the size of marching and concert bands, the Arlington Independent School District, near Dallas, suspended instrument rental fees. Band participation at the middle and high schools jumped."

On the more regimented side, one Wisconsin school requires teachers and administrators to submit data-rich reports every 45 days. "Once a week, teachers assemble after school to review data together," and parents have said the process makes them feel more in tune and in-the-know about their child's education.

A twenty year veteran chemistry teacher at the school said the data collection was helpful in figuring out how to best help students learn."He discovered that one group of students learned best with computer simulations while another liked word problems. When he tailored the class experiences, their performance improved," the article said.

But not all parents are happy with the focus on data collection in today's schools. Of course, many fear the violation of their child's privacy if the data is not properly secured and guarded, a big issue of focus when it comes to data collection in general.

Additionally, some fear the focus on data will discourage their children from doing better as well as take away from more creative methods of learning.

“'If you only look at the numbers, and you don’t probe and look at the learning environment, the culture of the school or the relationships between teachers and students, you’re going to miss out on a lot,'" said professor of education at New York University, Pedro Noguera, to the Times.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


Relying heavily on student data is:

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