Sunday, March 25, 2018

Projection Versus Data Determined Improvement

Some project what's needed to improve schools, but as Charles Blow noted in a video this morning, good policy comes from good data.

To simply project what teachers need and then use that projection to foster professional learning endeavor is to waste time and to sacrifice commitment and capacity. When educators are presented with professional learning that is redundant, unnecessary, and not matched to need, their interest and investment wanes. On the other hand, when professional learning is matched with good data and analysis, commitment and investment grows.

For example, if you look at our data sets, you will note that there are groups of students we do not serve well, groups of students I believe that we can serve better. We could decide to focus our efforts on those students and then really dig in together to figure out how to teach those students with greater effort. We could create pathways to betterment and assess our work in an ongoing fashion that helps us to revise and enrich our efforts to continuously make our impact better. But many don't support this kind of data driven, research-based professional learning and improvement, many prefer projection which is essentially, My experience tells me they need this so that's what I'll promote. That's not effective.

I think that every school system needs to think about how they analyze information, communicate those results, and then collaborate to make better. I believe that every school system has to beware of projection that's based on single perspectives or experiences rather than collective, authentic data sets, observations, and experiences. Our systems can do better if we embrace processes that make a difference and not settle for ineffective analysis and effort.