Monday, March 22, 2010

conceal vs reveal

There are many many things wrong with today's form of educational accountability, but today I want to focus on the numbers. Too often these data-driven decisions are being driven by numbers.

Now, I'm not saying all stats or numbers are born equally. It would be foolish to write-off all research as being invalid and unreliable; it's important to maintain a healthy scepticism so that we can identify the good research from the bad.

With that in mind, it is important to remember that sometimes the most important things in life are almost impossible to measure, and so when we reduce something as complicated as learning to a number, it is important to remember numbers might impress, but they also tend to conceal more than they reveal.

1 comment:

  1. "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - Einstein.

    Yong Zhao talks about this a lot in his book, "Catching Up or Leading the Way". A big reason why many are pushing for higher accountability with high-stakes testing is that America lags behind in international, standardized tests. The problem is, these numbers don't mean anything. The U.S. still has a monopoly on innovation: http://www.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=99

    For more great ammo against those obsessed with the wrong numbers, I suggest this presentation by Yong Zhao: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjKQeMhHiZ8

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