Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Who are these new educational data companies really serving?

                                            The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, picture by Crockett Johnson. Harper&Row 1945

Remember when you were a kid and you first discovered that you could buy stuff? And your Mom or Dad would look at the thing you wanted to buy, and he or she would say "Sweetie, I don't think you really need that. You should spend your allowance on something you really need and want." 

It seems like the biggest growing industry in our country now is the selling of data packages - and it's linked arms with the education "reform" movement. And as school begins to imitate science fiction,
here's something that resembles a Ray Bradbury invention: "Knewton" (How about that name? Catchy title? Calculated?...) calls itself "the world's leading adaptive learning company" ("Mom, do schools really need this?") They design and sell data systems to the education industry, so educators
can "better measure student achievement." 

This chart or graph or thing shows "granular understanding of knowledge." The purveyors would like us to believe that this is the answer to everything.  I don't understand how this chart shows how a human student is doing in class, but it does looks like something jokey from a Monty Python sketch that we would laugh really hard at.

Who would benefit from this data measuring system? Administrators? Teachers? Parents? Kids?

Oh! Right!  Knewton would benefit.

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1 comment:

  1. Don't we all wish we could laugh at this absurdity. Monty Python never had to explain the humor. Thanks.