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All In All, Kids Just Another Brick In the Data Wall 110

Posted by timothy
from the ok-the-lyrics-are-actually-on-point dept.
theodp writes "If you don't have kids of school age, you may not be aware that Data Walls — typically a low-tech "dashboard" of color-coded sticky notes on a wall bearing the names of pupils to highlight their achievement level, absences, or discipline problems — are apparently quite the rage. This is much to the chagrin of some teachers, including Peter A. Greene, who rails against the walls-of-shame in Up Against the Data Wall. Why stop there, Greene asks, tongue-in-cheek. Why not have data-driven dress codes? Data-driven recess? Pooh-poohing concerns of teachers who think Data Walls are mean but feel pressure to create them, the Supt. of Holyoke Public Schools said, "It's not a mandate whatsoever." Still, he went on to add, "I would say 99 percent of teachers see the benefit of it," which some might take as an implicit mandate. In other student privacy news, New York's Supreme Court has ruled that parental permission is not required to disclose student data to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded inBloom, perhaps paving the way for the Great Data Wall of the U.S."
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All In All, Kids Just Another Brick In the Data Wall

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  • Muggles. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gjh (231652) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @04:53PM (#46312577)

    WTF?

    Data wall by Dolores Umbridge.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22, 2014 @05:02PM (#46312623)

    I had my name on a literal wall of trouble-makers in elementary school. IIRC, about a dozen construction-paper pouches with citations in them. This didn't scar me or anything. It was just one facet of the insanity that came from growing up before anybody had heard of ADHD or Asperger's (I read more like an Asperger's case even though I was never diagnosed). This was back in the 70s. The wall neither hurt nor helped. Switching schools and slowly learning how to socialize via hard knocks and soft advice... that helped; but you never totally grow out of it.

  • by Gort65 (1464371) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @05:17PM (#46312689)

    "I would say 99 percent of teachers see the benefit of it,"

    Not damning the point that the Supt. of Holyoke Public Schools made or supporting it, but I tend to distrust anyone who claims that 99% of a group supports their side to bolster their argument. I know, figure of speech, but still indicative... at least 99% of the time.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @05:29PM (#46312733)

    I agree with the author - these public displays are stupid ideas driven by mediocre minds.

    Having said that - you're exactly right. The students already know this info. It's been quite a few decades, but back when I was in school we certainly knew who the "smart" kids and the "dumb" kids were. We usually knew everyone's test scores because we kids talked about them.

    But all that that doesn't mean the teachers or parents should be buying into this concept. It's almost certainly much more humiliating for a kid with low scores to see that exposed to the adults than it is to just have your classmates know it.

  • by camg188 (932324) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @05:36PM (#46312759)
    That album was released 35 years ago.
    Quit making me feel old.
  • Re:Old concept (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @05:49PM (#46312831)

    Is your perspective the one from someone who did his very best and still ended up on the bottom? Or from the perspective of a lazy bum who got good grades regardless, like most of us here?

    It might work for selective education for the higher aptitude schools, but for comprehensive schools or the lower aptitude schools it's just going to demotivate those battling genetics and losing.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @05:52PM (#46312855) Journal
    When somebody is talking about an allegedly 'data-driven' mechanism, hearing such...quality...statistics being used in place of actual evidence is concerning.

    That's what concerns me (both about that specific quote, and about the practice generally). Anyone who thinks that students aren't acutely aware of anything useful to the noble causes of shame and bullying without adult assistance is fooling themselves. The feral little bastards certainly are. And if they aren't, they'll invent something and carry on.

    The trouble is that the current fads for 'accountability' and 'data driven' and similar buzzwords tend to be severely lacking in the sort of expertise required to actually represent an improvement. Statistics is a perfectly valid field; but without expertise and care it's just bullshit with error bars. And is anybody optimistic enough to suspect that the teachers most in need of improvement are the ones who were just waiting to set loose the power of their statistics degree, rather than doing some cargo-cult implementation of 'best practices'?

    Doing statistically driven work (especially given the bottomless supply of confounding variables in the social sciences) isn't easy, so the odds are less than inspiring when you see an educational fad that (allegedly) brings The Power Of Statistics to classrooms whose teachers are in dire need of reform. You really think that the teachers you are worried about are proficient in statistics? Or that the teachers who are proficient or better in statistics are the ones you need to worry about?
  • by hiryuu (125210) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @06:03PM (#46312921)

    So, against all tradition here, I R'd the FA, and saw the photos posted. My first reaction on seeing those data wall examples was "good gawd, some moron took the overly-simplistic KPI dashboard so common in the corporate environment and decided to put it in use in early grade school." The data behind this tool may be more meaningful - which is a completely separate debate, in regards to the efficacy of standardized testing, etc. - but if the usage of this tool is shaming, then it's going to do more harm than good. Word-of-mouth comparisons of GPA and such were harsh enough in high school, but putting this right up there for a five-year-old (and all his classmates) to see is just going to make the kids on the lower rungs see it as defining and thus leading it to become self-fulfilling. Some will withdraw, others will become frustrated and lash out, and all of it will fail to be helpful.

    This is dumb.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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