‘Small Data’ could fix what ‘Big Data’ could not fix in education.

How many of you have been provided with so much data that you are lost and not sure how to effectively manage it?

OR

How many of you receive so much data that you spend hours molding the data with pivot tables, calculations, etc. just to analyze it and break it down into what you really need to make informed decisions?

I was in the first bucket.  I remember being introduced to an online data warehouse that held ALL of my districts information, was given a log in, showed how to run reports, and was handed the keys to do what I needed.  Thanks for nothing?

Data is useless, its what you do with it that matters.

Now once I got where I needed to be, the data was not completely useless.  I would use it to find out which kids did not test proficient on last years state assessment but there was no way to see how they scored over the past 3 years.  Another problem was that I had to massage the data to get anything valuable out of it because there was so much of it!  Then I started to think, “What if last year was an outlier?”  Things like this frustrated me to no end because my goal was to teach and this emphasis on test results, I felt, encouraged people to teach to the test.

We were never provided data on attendance rates for students, behavior data, or how they performed on their report card for the last 4 years.  It all revolved around benchmark tests and state exams.  What if they provided me all the reports I just mentioned, then ran that data against how they performed on tests, to really look for small to focus on that might make a HUGE impact.  We are now going to segway into an article published by the Washington Post and Valeri Strauss who shared a a post by Jonathan Hask and Pasi Sahlberg called “Next Big Thing in Education: Small Data”.

You can read the Washington Post article OR the article directly from Pasi Sahlberg’s website.

Share your thoughts and lets start some great conversation on where data analytics maybe going in the near future!

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