Why Big Data is Small on Student Insights

BEYOND TEST DATA: Marveling at Google Now and the recently unveiled conversational search feature (only available on the Chrome browser), Drew Perkins from the Collaborative for Teaching and Learning wonders how we might formatively assess students to truly meet them where they are, not just where their skills (or lack thereof) lay:

“Using data from test scores is only a small piece of the puzzle. What formative assessments are you using to gather information about student learning? What kinds of structures are in place for students to share themselves in a non-threatening environment? What other methods can we use to personalize the learning environment and increase engagement?”

It’s no secret that master teachers have an uncanny ability to understand their students’ lives and know when, where, and how to deliver the best instruction. But exactly how to produce such teachers remains a long, laborious, and somewhat mysterious process. As many K-12 schools leave behind ineffective standardized tests for unproven ones, why not look to social media’s Big Data for superior insights?

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