Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Educational Malpractice at Tweed

Tweed's head of accountability James Liebman and his massive staff may just account for the entire $18 billion deficit about to hit New York State. But he slogs on. Data Mining? Another corporate imposition on the schools. Give experienced teachers 5 minutes with a kid and we'll do more mining than the failed $80 billion ARIS system.

Leonie Haimson sent these links:

From Information Week:
Click here to read Can Data Mining Save America's Schools?
For those who see education's rush to data analysis as a bad thing, as just a more individualized way to "teach to the test," Liebman has little patience. "This process is no more 'teaching to the test' than a doctor diagnosing and then treating a patient for a bacterial infection of the kidney is 'treating to the test,'" says Liebman, who's also a law professor at Columbia University. Teachers will consider the data along with everything else they observe and change their "treatment" if the student continues to struggle. "This is what professionals do," he says.


By Aaron Pallas and Jennifer L. Jennings
Skoolboy and Eduwonkette respond at The West Side Spirit.
Basing a treatment plan on one unreliable health indicator would be malpractice if a doctor did it. Why should we tolerate this from the Department of Education?
.... educational test can provide a perfectly accurate reading of a student’s performance. Changes in student performance within a particular school on a test from one year to the next may be due to random error, or “statistical noise,” rather than genuine change. It takes a lot more information—either about a larger number of students or about performance across more years—to sort out real gains from illusions.

The Department of Education has chosen to ignore this complexity.

This would not be so alarming if the progress reports were treated as just one of several forms of information about the well-being of particular public schools, such as the school’s status under the federal No Child Left Behind law, or the annual Quality Reviews that the department conducts for each school. But the progress reports—based primarily on a very inconsistent measure of how a school is performing—are the centerpiece of the department’s accountability system.

1 comment:

  1. I am continuously amazed at the lengths to which teachers and school administrators will go to deny that they should bear any responsibility for what goes on in our schools, the quality of their "work" in educating young minds, and in providing a safe environment in which students can learn.

    Haven't there been enough broken dreams? Haven't there been enough school shootings already?


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