Tales From 3 Surveys: Hope, Buzz and Fears to Expect in the 2017-18...


Tales From 3 Surveys: Hope, Buzz and Fears to Expect in the 2017-18 School Year

By Tony Wan     Sep 5, 2017

Tales From 3 Surveys: Hope, Buzz and Fears to Expect in the 2017-18 School Year

This past week a triad of education surveys ushered the start of the new school year. For those covering education technology, these annual forecasts mark the passing of time. They offer a pulse check on the latest hopes and fears (along with tips for headlines and SEO). They’re as consistent as a ticking clock—but never quite as precise.

The General Public

This year’s annual survey from Phi Delta Kappa International (PDF) gauges the American public’s sentiment on U.S. K-12 education, ranging from career preparation, diversity and hot-button issues like the use of vouchers in K-12 education. Findings are based on telephone surveys of 1,588 adults, “including 636 parents of school-age children, 297 black respondents, and 289 Hispanics.”

Testing, testing: “49% of public school parents say standardized tests don’t measure aspects of their child’s education that are important to them personally.” The solution? Design more—and hopefully better—tests! “84% say schools should assess students on their interpersonal skills, and 66% say schools should be held accountable for these test results as well as for academic skill results.”

Preparing students for careers: “A vast 86% of Americans say public schools should offer classes that award certificates or licenses qualifying students for employment in specific fields...Nearly as many (82%) say public high schools should offer job or career skills classes in place of academic classes, again demonstrating broad support for jobs-focused education.”

Vouching for vouchers? “More Americans continue to oppose rather than favor using public funds to send students to private school (52% to 39%).” If funding were not an issue, “34% of parents say they would send their child to a public school, but 31% would choose a private school, 17% a charter school, and 14% a religious school.”

Source: PDK poll

The Weather Forecast

For 15 years, the New Media Consortium has assembled a panel of education experts from across the world, including educators, corporations, nonprofits and consultants, to forecast the trends and challenges in education technology. Sixty-one such people chimed in for the 2017 K-12 Horizon report (PDF) published this week; here’s a visual summary of their latest forecast:

Source: NMC/CoSN Horizon Report

For those interested in seeing how trends have changed (or haven’t) over the years, Audrey Watters keeps a tally on her blog.

In Data We Trust

The Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit that aims to inform education stakeholders about the potential risks of data, commissioned the Harris Poll to survey 1,212 U.S. parents for their feelings about the use of student data. An overwhelming number (94 percent) said they “support teachers’ use of data to make sure their students are getting all the support and enrichment they need.” Many parents also suggest that knowing “a school’s overall performance rating, like an A-F letter grade, helps them make decisions related to their child’s education.”

Eighty-eight percent also “trust that their child’s school is keeping their child’s data private and Secure.”

Source: Data Quality Campaign

That faith in the ability of schools to safeguard sensitive data might be somewhat misplaced, or at least naive. This K-12 cyber incident map from edtech consultant Doug Levin counted “at least 202 separate cyber security-related incidents resulting in the disclosure of personal information, the loss of taxpayer dollars, and the loss of instructional time” since 2016.

Source: Doug Levin / EdTech Strategies

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