Reblogged from GADFLYONTHEWALLBLOG
One of the most frustrating things I’ve ever been forced to do as a teacher is to ignore my students and concentrate instead on the data.
I teach 8th grade Language Arts at a high poverty, mostly minority school in Western Pennsylvania. During my double period classes, I’m with these children for at least 80 minutes a day, five days a week.
During that time, we read together. We write together. We discuss important issues together. They take tests. They compose poems, stories and essays. They put on short skits, give presentations, draw pictures and even create iMovies.
I don’t need a spreadsheet to tell me whether these children can read, write or think. I know.
Anyone who had been in the room and had been paying attention would know.
But a week doesn’t go by without an administrator ambushing me at a staff meeting with a computer print out and a smile.
Look at this data set. See how your students are doing on this module. Look at the projected growth for this student during the first semester.
It’s enough to make you heave.
I always thought the purpose behind student data was to help the teacher teach. But it has become an end to itself.
It is the educational equivalent of navel gazing, of turning all your students into prospective students and trying to teach them from that remove – not as living, breathing beings, but as computer models.