|February 8, 2011|
Data walls are number 2 on the agenda of the School Committee’s Education Programs Subcommittee meeting Tuesday, Feb. 8, 7 pm, 42 Cross Street.
Linda Conte has also posted that information as a comment to my “Finding Nemo…” post.
We both learned about it from the Somerville-4-Schools email list, where there’s been a very active discussion of data walls. Here’s a short summary:
One parent wrote, “I hate the data walls. I think they would have about the same effect as encouraging weight loss by posting everyone’s weight without their permission.”
She posted part of an incredible letter that her 8th grade daughter sent the superintendent in opposition to data walls, in which her daughter said students do find out about each others’ scores, and posting them hurts both low and high scorers. “One of the last things that will encourage an eighth grader to do well in school is announcing to everyone that they are a ‘nerd,’” she points out.
Another parent, who is a former teacher, wrote, “I understand looking at data to inform instruction, sure, but using posted test scores as a motivating tool, particularly in the lower grades is destructive.”
A third said her three children have scored very differently on MCAS, and sometimes, the harder they tried, the worse they did because of test anxiety. “I am also really horrified by how far we’ve gone in the direction of letting tests tell us how to feel about our schools, our teachers, our kids, our progress, about our own understanding of who our kids are,” she said.
But another parent expressed mixed feelings about data walls. On the one hand, he thinks MCAS has driven up achievement in Massachusetts. On the other hand, he sees the risks when kids compare themselves according to the posted scores.
About 20 comments in all!
I wish more people would cross-post on Somerville Voices where the whole community can read what they write, but I also recommend the Somerville-4-Schools list to anybody interested in what’s happening in our schools. You can subscribe with an email to email@example.com.