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MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Posted By: Alan Jones on July 28, 2014
 
While I applaud the efforts of researchers to categorize/classify/study how data is being used in schools, I do wish that within these articles some acknowledgement of how the real world of teaching looks in real world schools. First, before addressing that issue I do wish that all articles on data would begin with questioning the assumption that some number on a test correlates with what is going on in a student's mind--- a long list of educators, philosophers, psychologists, have questioned this assumption. Now to the real world of schooling: This article assumes that teachers possess a rich repertoire of instructional strategies that they will take off the pedagogical shelf and implement based on some numbers on a computer screen---those rich repertoires do not exist in the real world of schooling. Even if they did exist the structure of institutional schooling does not provide teachers with the time or expertise---a training regime---to learn/practice a new pedagogical approach. Even if a sophisticated training regime were in place, study after study of classroom teachers, reveals a set of instructional routines that are more focused on managing student behavior than generating the kind of thinking listed in school mission statements ---e.g. increasing the amount and quality of student engagement/talk would be considered by most teachers as a threat to getting through a lesson. Finally, returning to my first point, the entire data analysis enterprise, on which test makers, textbooks companies, and the guru of the day, are making millions, was copied from W. E. Deming's TQM method of analyzing private sector production industries. Before his passing, he often said, repeatedly (in fact he stopped using TQM because of its misuse/abuse), that his methods should never be used in the public sector in areas like education, for which no form of data analysis would tell us much about student learning or what is quality teaching.


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 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING by Alan Jones on July 28, 2014
     
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