Wired: Let Big Data Do Its Job in Education

smarter-balanced-and-PARCCA new article by Jason Tanz for Wired Magazine makes the argument that big data already reigns supreme, and for the most part helps us, in our lives, so why shouldn’t it do the same in education? Tanz understands that there are legitimate concerns from parents and education leaders about the role of large-scale standardized assessments in education, but he argues that these yearly assessments like PARCC are only annual checkups, and what we really need is seamlessly and continuously integrated formative assessments that will provide many more data points. By making assessment more of a constant part of the education process, we can see the benefits of assessment and data, such as real time feedback that allows for continuous monitoring and intervention.

Following is an excerpt from the article:

But ultimately, the solution isn’t to rely less on data. It’s to rely on more of it. Imagine if the process of data collection weren’t decoupled from the act of learning—if tracking and measurement were a natural part of the learning process, rather than an artificial adjunct tacked on at the end of the year. Imagine if every learning activity were automatically recorded—each homework assignment, class discussion, group project. Over time, all those points would come together to paint a full picture of a student’s intellectual life. Because that picture would be composed of so many data points, no one set would have outsized influence. And because it would be a record of actual learning, as it happens, it wouldn’t be as gameable with fancy test prep. Parents wouldn’t have to worry that their kid would be penalized because they couldn’t sleep the night before the big test. And there wouldn’t be teaching to the test, because the teaching would be the test.

For more information, please visit: http://www.wired.com/2015/03/standardized-tests-suck-fix-data-not-less/