GUEST BLOGGER: Mary Anne Mather, Using Data Facilitator & the face behind Using Data on Twitter & FaceBook

An interesting guest blog by eighth grade teacher Blake Unger Dvorchik via ed.gov was just called to my attention. Entitled “Training the Next Generation of Data Specialists,” it places a very interesting spin on using data—getting students to use it. 12 people standing on a data lineI see the posting has also attracted several thoughtful comments. One in particular, by Ian, prompted me to join the discussion…

Ian: Posted December 27, 2010

This is a wonderful and innovative idea that seems to be working for this teacher with his students. It’s a great way to help students understand what they’re supposed to be learning and to help them honestly assess themselves each step of the way. That’s a skill that is lacking in so many people as adults…I’d love to see it instilled at this level of education. But I am sure that the anti-data, anti-accountability crowd will argue against it, which makes me sad.

TercUsingData: Posted January 3, 2011

I hear you, Ian. There’s quite a push-pull that arises among the anti-data voices. I have to believe their strong reactions are a response to the movement for high-stakes tests as the only important data. Like you, I’m quite interested in this strategy that teacher Blake Unger Dvorchik shared. In my opinion, there’s no arguing…we have to own our own data—both teachers and students—and take charge of our own learning to be successful lifelong learners.

The staff here at TERC’s Using Data believes in regularly keeping an eye on multiple data measures, including daily student work. And “going visual” with that data is a mantra. We teach strategies for using data in meaningful ways, and it looks like Blake is a front-runner in that teaching. It will be interesting to see the effect of his focus on self-monitoring if any of his 8th graders become teachers. 🙂 I hope they do!

And I hope this conversation prompts further comments here.