Holt Think: Ed, Creativity, Tech, Administration

May 2

Is Data-Driven Instruction Dehumanizing? Link and My Response (Below)

My response to this nonsense because they probably won’t post what I put down. Click on the title to go to the article.—TBH


                                                 Lori Fey 

If you were’t working for the an organization that is pushing a product that is a data-based decision making solution, I might have sided a bit more with you. However when I got to the end of the article and saw who you were and worked for, your objectivity came into question.

Let me push back another story about “data driven decisions,” and see who you think about it:
In many districts, the standardized test rule the day. So, the “data” in Data Driven Decision/Instruction Making (DDDM) is all about looking at the data to see how test scores can be raised and nothing much more. You may have a few anecdotes about a teacher here and there using data for something else, but the vast of majority of data decisions are driven by testing. If you think otherwise, you have not been in a public school lately, or at least in a tested grade level.

Consider the following:
There are districts in the US that spend gobs of money to hire data consultants that can come in, run a few tests through SPSS , print out fancy colorful regression analysis, and see exactly where each child has been, where each child is at, and with some degree of accuracy, where each child is going. They can tell you what child will pass the test with little intervention, which will never pass the test no matter what you do, and which ones are sitting on the fence and could go either way. They can even tell you which fence sitting kids will probably pass which portions of the tests, down to the question and the standard…It gets that granular. For the most part, they are fairly accurate. 

So what is a district to do that is facing sanctions, AYP, has limited finacial resources, and other threats because of the tests? They throw all of their weight of instructional interventions towards the kids on the fence. Because the Data Analysis told them to. So the kids that will pass the test are ignored, and more troubling to me, the kids that the data knows will never pass are forgotten, because, hey, whats the use any way? That kid isn’t gonna pass the test. 

Try explaining that to a kid’s mom. “Well, the data told us…”

So throughout this country, there are perfectly normal kids being ignored academically because they have shown little or now growth on a standardized test over a period of years. Ignored. And they are being ignored BECAUSE of your Data Driven Decision Making.

So, you tell me, in those instances, is Data Driven Decision Making inhuman? I say in many cases, it is.

On a side note, what is the true purpose of the Ed-Fi program which you work for? On the page “About” your product, the term “Student” shows up 4 times. The term “Vendor” shows up twice as many times. 

There is some data for you.