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How Data Analytics In Education Could Create a New Class of Haves and Have-nots

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the your-algorithm-says-you're-bad-at-math dept.

Education 268

mattydread23 writes "Every student learns differently. Some educators are starting to use data analytics to figure out how to tailor teaching techniques to individual students, rather than using the 'one size fits all' approach. But Alec Ross, a senior advisor on innovation at the U.S. State Department, worries this would create a new class of haves and have-nots. Speaking at the Schools for Tomorrow conference last week, Ross said, 'A lot of what I see is the ability to productize and commercialize very intensive assessments of individual limits. So what I imagine is parents getting their kids essentially a $30,000 educational checkup where they extract enormous amounts of data about the kinds of learners their children are, the kinds of education deficits they have.'"

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Only if we market extra learning courses as extra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038015)

I can only the see have and have not scenario when we decide to privatize the extra learning courses for students. If it becomes more A la Carte then analytics can help decide the overall costs for each student to go in a given direction. Ie anyone can be an engineer but it's going to cost more for some than for others to get them to be an engineer.

RICHARD DAWKINS ENDORSES PEDOPHILIA (-1, Offtopic)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#45038153)

Re:RICHARD DAWKINS ENDORSES PEDOPHILIA (1)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about a year ago | (#45038201)

Desparate.

Re:RICHARD DAWKINS ENDORSES PEDOPHILIA (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45038205)

So?

Hitler ate breakfast! He breathed air too!

Re:RICHARD DAWKINS ENDORSES PEDOPHILIA (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about a year ago | (#45038237)

My Gawd! We've got to outlaw oatmeal AND respiration immediately! Think of the Children!

Re:Only if we market extra learning courses as ext (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#45038281)

No, it is deeper than that. Some kids lean better using the whole word method â" others by using phonics or some other technique. Figure out what method the kid is better at and the kid can sprint ahead by 1 or 2 grade levels. Pick the wrong method and the kid will lag behind by 1 or 2 grade levels.

I am going to give myself and my sister-in-laws as examples.

When I was in middle school my parents paid for a expensive independent clinic. The examination took a full week, involved multiple specialist. I was diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, borderline ADD. From that my family and teachers were able to put together a plan. Writing papers were a issue for me but I learned how to compensate â" for example that after writing a paper I need to put it away for at least a day so I can revisit it with fresh eyes. I will never be a natural writer but I have mastered techniques so I am not at a disadvantage. My math and logic skills where high so efforts were made so I could focus on these areas.

My sister-in-law was struggling in high school so the school did some testing over 2 days by a teacher (i.e. no specialized training, no advance degrees) where she was diagnosed as having a generic learning disability. What was that disability? Donâ(TM)t know. What is the best tactics to compensate for that disability? Donâ(TM)t know. She struggled both in high school and college.

Re:Only if we market extra learning courses as ext (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#45038311)

There's the minor matter of the cost of the evaluation in the first place. Those with an extra $30K get evaluated and get a tailored education, the rest get a one size fits all education.

Re:Only if we market extra learning courses as ext (2)

ranton (36917) | about a year ago | (#45038337)

He is worried that the assessments themselves will be very expensive. It is not the specialized classes that would cost extra, but the assessment that determines which classes to take make be more thorough if you can spend money for private testing. I am not commenting on whether I agree with him, but that is his contention.

Re:Only if we market extra learning courses as ext (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about a year ago | (#45038643)

He is worried that the assessments themselves will be very expensive. It is not the specialized classes that would cost extra, but the assessment that determines which classes to take make be more thorough if you can spend money for private testing. I am not commenting on whether I agree with him, but that is his contention.

He works for one of the few organizations in the world that can legally force those who can perform the evaluation to it free. Not that I advocate that sort of thing, mind you.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45038019)

In other words, the parents that already are able to blow large sums of money on the education of their children will have yet another way to do so in future.

So nothing changes really.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (4, Insightful)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#45038043)

Agreed. Compare 1st world educations to 3rd world educations. Actually I love the idea of making kids smarter and having individualized education. What's the problem with smarter people?

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038065)

the not so smart people don't have the same advantages

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (0, Flamebait)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#45038095)

So lets keep everything equally dumb, right? Typical leftist mentality... Lets share the misery!

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038169)

Typical leftist mentality

No Child Left to Not Drag the Rest of the Goddamned Class Down.

Left and Right have no meaning in the US. Everyone's on the right side of the spectrum. The only differences between the parties and their sycophants are batshit insane and shitbat insane.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (-1, Troll)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#45038301)

On the contrary, my friend. US is slowly but surely becoming a Leftist Welfare State. Even Republicans are going more and more to the left due to misguided social pressures from Cultural Marxism and Keynesianism.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038379)

Oh Nos! Look out for the scary markists and kenyans

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (-1, Flamebait)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#45038445)

Not scary. Just delusional. Exactly like you, my friend.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45038381)

Oh bullshit.
We right now don't even have WIC operating.

FSM forbid our civilization recognize a need to feed hungry children.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (-1, Troll)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#45038419)

You know what is better than feeding needy children? Not putting children in the world if you cannot feed them.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45038503)

Because no one has ever lost their job or had a medical cost they could not afford.

I hope that one day this happens to you. So you can learn some compassion. Sadly I doubt you would. I have an uncle who says this crap, now his lifestyle caught up with him and he lives only on the generosity of the state. He says well he paid for those programs he should get to use them, without realizing so did the folks he used to hate.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#45038637)

Oh lets stop the melodramatic crap. You do far more harm by enabling people to be irresponsible than by denying help to those that are afflicted by bad luck.

Even worse the huge costs of the health care that would break the poor unlucky guy in your example and difficulty to find new jobs would be the directly results of your welfare state. So basically you and your policies create the problem you accuse me of not wanting to solve.

What you guys are unable to understand is that there is no perfect solution. Everything is based on compromises. By pretending the compromises do not exist and aiming to the ideal you end making the situation worst.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (0)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | about a year ago | (#45038529)

Its called abortion, but the Right don't like that either. Also, it sounds like you only want wealthy people to have children. Just another way the wealthy is keeping the poor down

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#45038595)

Depends on which "Right" you are talking about. Libertarians are just fine with it.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (1)

nomadic (141991) | about a year ago | (#45038471)

Why do people on the Far Right Fringe incessantly capitalize Words that Don't Need to be capitalized? And actually, the US is far less of a "Leftist Welfare State" than it was in the 70's.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#45038623)

How so? Social Security is what, 80 years old? Medicaid is from the 60s (though both Bush and Obama did expand it significantly). But the last major socialization was in the 80s when Reagan signed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act in 1986. Obamacare does rejigger things, but doesn't do anything nearly as sweeping as requiring everyone be treated regardless of ability to pay.

Anyway, I don't see how expanding programs from 30+ years ago really qualifies as becoming a leftist state. To make such a statement ignores other forces - like corporations slowly gaining more and more independence from government. It ignores the 90s-era scaling back of welfare. It ignores the growing gap in wealth and income, which would not be a hallmark of a socialist state.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038393)

Left and Right have no meaning in the US. Everyone's on the right side of the spectrum.

I hear this meme repeated a lot, sometimes by Europeans, more often by American teenyboppers trying to be hip.

Nobody who repeats it ever seems to realize it could be just as valid in reverse; maybe the Americans are the ones with a left and right and the Europeans are all just various types of extreme left.

And in neither case does it tell you anything about who's right or wrong. It's just a bullshit pseudo-argument whose only purpose is to appear wise and world-weary without having to bother with any thinking on the subject at hand.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45038367)

So lets keep everything equally dumb, right? Typical leftist mentality... Lets share the misery!

Typical rightist mentality - never publicly fund a means of people bettering themselves. Otherwise we might have a true meritocracy, rather than a self-reinforcing class system. Bonus points if you can repeal the part of the Constitution prohibiting the government from granting titles of nobility.

Re:Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... (1, Informative)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#45038555)

Meritocracy is a swear word to any leftist, my friend, despite your delusions.

The very principle over which the left is based is that people should receive based on their needs not their abilities or value. That everybody is "equally valuable". That is completely incompatible with anything that rewards merit or even accepts it in any way.

But that truth is too much to people like you, you need convenient excuses like "self-reinforcing class system" to make the world fit in your delusions.

Thomas Sowell published not so long ago a study showing that in US there are bigger chances of a person who was born in a family in the top 25% of income to end in the bottom 25% of income than of a person who was born in the bottom 25% staying there for life. THAT is social mobility.

On the other hand, "self-reinforcing class system" is what you have in socialists countries where no matter what you do the system does everything to keep you exactly where you are..

iodocracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038269)

Let's just stop teaching all kids, burn the schools down, so everyone has an equal chance to learn the same way. Oh wait, what if the parents are teaching the kids? Let's get rid of the parents as well.

Re:iodocracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038469)

Brave new world..

One size does not fit all... (5, Interesting)

nebaz (453974) | about a year ago | (#45038021)

Great, so someone laments the fact that some people may end up more educated than others. Wouldn't it be better if we taught everyone to their potential instead of holding back the more gifted students so everyone is equal? Lowest common denominator is "lowest" for a reason.

Re:One size does not fit all... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038107)

Cuz its not FAIR! How dare you say someone could be SMARTER than another! Next you'll say SOME people may be better at making MONEY than other people! Thats just not fair! Flipping burgers and designing rocket engines should be paid the same cuz its HARD!

Re:One size does not fit all... (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45038519)

No one gets rich designing rocket engines. Those folks are still poor compared to the actual rich.

Re:One size does not fit all... (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about a year ago | (#45038135)

Great, so someone laments the fact that some people may end up more educated than others. Wouldn't it be better if we taught everyone to their potential instead of holding back the more gifted students so everyone is equal? Lowest common denominator is "lowest" for a reason.

Much my take too. What is 'amazing' is that he is working someplace with more financial resources than any individual, anywhere, and his idea of competing is to trash a promising method in a classic class warfare manner, rather than bothering to suggest that his own organization adopt and spread it.

Re:One size does not fit all... (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45038241)

Great, so someone laments the fact that some people may end up more educated than others.

No, what they object to is that how well educated you are may depend mostly on how much money your parents' have. It's already like that to a large extent. Welcome back to the old, and reviled, British class system. I thought we were Americans.

Most people believe in a meritocracy to a large extent, but the merit should be based on your abilities, not your parents' income.

Re:One size does not fit all... (4, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45038477)

Most people believe all kinds of lies. We have never been a meritocracy. We have always had a rather class based system. A great example was Romney speaking of being in a bad spot financially so he had to sell some stock one time. That was his idea of a financial struggle and of those like him. He advised students to borrow money from their parents to start a business. He was not being a bad person he just has no idea about reality for 99% of people. Just like you have no idea what it is like to live like those people. To him spending ~$80k a year on a dancing horse is normal. To us that would be lunacy.

We like to all pretend we are middle class for some reason, when this is clearly not the case.

Re:One size does not fit all... (4, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | about a year ago | (#45038305)

It is important to distinguish between equality in opportunity versus equality in accomplishment.

Re:One size does not fit all... (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#45038357)

No, he laments that the dumbest rich kid will likely get a better education than the smartest poor kid.

Re:One size does not fit all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038375)

Great, so someone laments the fact that some people may end up more educated than others. Wouldn't it be better if we taught everyone to their potential instead of holding back the more gifted students so everyone is equal? Lowest common denominator is "lowest" for a reason.

But then the kids who don't get more educated will feel bad about themselves!

We must HAMMER down the exceptional kids!

Fair has nothing to do with it (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#45038387)

For each pupil you've got $10,000 to service capital debt, maintain facilities, procure and maintain learning tools and resources, provide transportation, and hire educators and management. Direct contact with the instructor shall not be less than 1000 hours per year.

Go - tell me how you create and implement a personalized learning plan and provide full-time, tailored individual instruction for every student. You've got almost $10/hour to do it, I'm sure you can make it work.

Re:One size does not fit all... (1)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#45038491)

Your logic is not quite correct. Historically, education never focused on the slowest or fastest learners, it focused on the middle. That is what public education is supposed to do. If you compare the number of truly gifted people to the number of true idiots, the numbers favor the idiots. So historically, schools were in the right game and _should_ be targeting the middle. Not the upper, and not the lower ends. A real intelligent kid can still get an accelerated education. If a person is too smart, they get double promoted up grades to keep them learning ahead of pace.

Common core is an attempt to focus more on the dumber, but hell most people today are like bricks. Yes, the last 40-50 years at least of education has been horrible at producing intelligent people. My kid went to private school because of how bad public schools have gotten, mostly due to US Government mandates on curriculum and methods.

What's really cool to me is now that my kid is in college, he admits all my ranting about the education system while he was growing up was correct. He sees how messed even junior college has become because of Government intervention. More so, he sees how stupid people are that came from public schools.

Re:One size does not fit all... (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about a year ago | (#45038509)

Yeah, this applies to any innovation: "We've invented something amazing and revolutionary!" "But not everyone in the world can have it right away, so the people without it will be an underclass! Stop inventing wonderful, revolutionary things! Don't you see they destroy the world?"

Re:One size does not fit all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038545)

"Gifted" is not nearly the same as "Have Richer Parents". Get a grip.

Tailor? Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038023)

Adapt or perish.

Re:Tailor? Meh. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45038075)

Or be born wealthy, that seems to inure you to most of this kind of thing, even if you're a terrible person.

Part of learning is learning to adapt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038029)

If we spoon-feed kids to meet their respective favored learning styles, how will they "learn to learn" in a world that isn't so accommodating? Yes, for basic skills it makes sense to adapt. For more advanced skills, it makes sense to teach the kids how to learn a variety of ways.

captcha: erasable

Re:Part of learning is learning to adapt (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#45038435)

You might be able to teach someone to learn to learn, and how to best compensate for their weaknesses. Generally, learning to learn is not the result of having difficulty learning so much as it is learning. The more you learn, the more you learn how to learn to learn.

All children are equal and can do anything! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038047)

All children are capable of being Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrant, and Bill Gates all rolled into one. They just need to try. /not.

There is so much self-loathing out there among people not born gifted. Have some mercy and lower expectations a bit.

Re:All children are equal and can do anything! (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#45038085)

all of these people were kids of fairly educated and well off at the time parents who could afford an education

not like some poor farm boy in the 1500's could grow up to be a painter or inventor when the chances of him not learning to read were close to 100%

Re:All children are equal and can do anything! (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#45038461)

Actually, we've had some rather accomplished autodidacts as well, and some of those stories we really love about someone who overcame the odds.

Buy yourself future money(even more!) (1, Flamebait)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45038055)

It's increasingly becoming the case, especially in the US, that the only real way to make money is to have money. Investment returns compared to work returns have skyrocketed, top marginal tax rates(and particular capital gains) have dropped absurdly, and mobility supporting institutions have been increasingly privatized, disestablished, or defunded.

Due to broken and even anti-democratic electoral processes, I can't actually see that trend reversing normally. It's not revolution-worthy yet, but it couldn't hurt to start planning a guillotine.

Re:Buy yourself future money(even more!) (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45038165)

It's not revolution-worthy yet, but it couldn't hurt to start planning a guillotine.

Way too French for America (with the possible exception of New Orleans). American style would be a firing squad.

Re:Buy yourself future money(even more!) (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#45038243)

It's increasingly becoming the case, especially in the US. Investment returns compared to work returns have skyrocketed, top marginal tax rates(and particular capital gains) have dropped absurdly, and mobility supporting institutions have been increasingly privatized, disestablished, or defunded.

I disagree. What is happening is that labor is just not as valuable as it used to be in the developed world, that is, your little corner of reality. That's the spur for all these imaginary problems. The rest of the world is benefiting just fine.

Re:Buy yourself future money(even more!) (1)

nomadic (141991) | about a year ago | (#45038397)

Never been to Europe, have we. Or China.

Re:Buy yourself future money(even more!) (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45038403)

What is happening is that labor is just not as valuable as it used to be in the developed world, that is, your little corner of reality.

So in the Gilded age labor was even less valuable than today, but then in the first half of the 20th century it became more valuable? Please explain why.

Re:Buy yourself future money(even more!) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038587)

The deaths of millions in World War I reduced the labor supply, thereby raising wages.
That is all.

Re:Buy yourself future money(even more!) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038303)

It's increasingly becoming the case, especially in the US, that the only real way to make money is to have money.

This has always been the case, except for a brief period after World War II when the world was a smoldering crater and we were Economic Lords upon the Earth, what with our non-bombed cities and largely intact workforce.

When you compare reality to a golden age that never was, sure, the golden age looks appealing. It also never really existed, and never will exist.

Save your money and invest it. Your wealth will grow.

Or you can be a jackass and buy a bunch of overpriced shit because the TV says you're not successful without it. Plebs gonna pleb, I guess.

Re:Buy yourself future money(even more!) (1, Troll)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45038527)

"Overpriced crap on tv" == "Food, shelter, and healthcare" once translated from entitled dick language.

Here's a hint: I'm not poor. I didn't have poor parents. That's why I have time to debate this with idiots like you. A person working minimum wage literally every single second(with overtime even), would make substantially less per year than me, mostly due to investment in my education that others wouldn't have been able to afford.

Keep defending the ultra-rich non-working class, I'm sure they'll totally let you join them.

Conformity (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#45038113)

Ve must make sure that no one person can excel above anyone else, no matter what the cost!

You, Citizen, are not allowed to show deviation from the norm. Intelligence is deviation. Non-Conformity is deviation. Beliefs not held by your leaders is deviation.

Carry on (without deviation).

Re:Conformity (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038309)

You are missing the point totally.

The spirit of this "fairness" mindset is not to make sure no one person can excel - but to ensure everyone has a fair chance to succeed by placing them on the same *starting line*, to make sure success later in life has more correlation to individual intelligence and diligence than how much money their parents have.

Re:Conformity (1, Informative)

mveloso (325617) | about a year ago | (#45038407)

No, he's not missing the point. The only reason you bring up a point like that is to ensure that the initiative gets squished, because only the rich will be able to afford it. That's a kiss-of-death statement in committee, made in such a way that it's deniable - which is exactly what Ross did in his statement.

"I don't think it's a bad idea, it's just that we're just going to make rich, achieving students richer and more achieving. I'm not saying that's bad - I'm just saying what about everyone else?"

Re:Conformity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038517)

Sorry, you're not me and you can never pretend to know my reason of bringing up the point.

Your quote is intentionally flawed, too - it has nothing to do with whether the student is "achieving" or not - it'll just create a way to make students (regardless of ability) with rich parents to put their children at starting line closer to the goal, than everyone else.

Using the word "achieving" and "more achieving" is just a distraction from "rich". It's not like there's a criteria that only "achieving" students can use such analytics.

Re:Conformity (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45038537)

So if we can't afford it for every student, let's give it to every N'th student. The lucky students can be picked via a lottery. That's just as reasonable of a way of providing this to only a portion of the students as choosing only rich kids. Still can't afford it? Just tax the parents of the rich kids. Be careful though - this might create a meritocracy instead of a class system. Wealthy parents are often concerned that their little darlings wouldn't excel if they actually had to compete on an equal basis with the riffraff.

Fear Potential Misuse and Forgo Effective Benefits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038139)

Sounds like government approach. If a $30,000 version did appear, consider the hundreds of much lower priced alternatives which will appear.

Re:Fear Potential Misuse and Forgo Effective Benef (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45038415)

Just like private universities can offer a lower priced education than public universities.

Re:Fear Potential Misuse and Forgo Effective Benef (2)

Jiro (131519) | about a year ago | (#45038691)

Just like private universities can offer a lower priced education than public universities.

Much of the reason the cost of education goes up is the reaction to government-guaranteed student loans. If banks and others who gave out student loans had to depend on them being paid back in the same way as other loans, they would not be willing to loan huge amounts (especially for classes that don't provide marketable skills) and the colleges would not have raised their tuition to the sky in order to capture those large amounts.

What the hell costs $30k? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45038147)

So what I imagine is parents getting their kids essentially a $30,000 educational checkup where they extract enormous amounts of data about the kinds of learners their children are, the kinds of education deficits they have.'"

What the hell costs $30k? And if it can be done cost effectively, why not do it in public schools?

Re:What the hell costs $30k? (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#45038285)

I'm trying to figure out exactly how they figure they can justify $30k in the first place. It just doesn't make any sense from where I sit.

Re:What the hell costs $30k? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038329)

$30k is a big enough number that it ought to scare everybody!

Re:What the hell costs $30k? (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#45038331)

$30k? Pshaw, that's nothing. You can blow that in a month-long summer camp that characterizes your kids individual learning traits and tailors a specific program for each type of learning they do. Heck, that's barely 120 hours of evaluation by a top professional - you'll probably get an assistant for most of the time at a lower rate, and then conference with the behavioral and learning expert maybe an hour a day to make sure progress is being made. Add in the facility charges, activity and learning material fees, final report and conference fees and $30k seems like it would barely cover it.

Re:What the hell costs $30k? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#45038369)

Maybe they're including the cost of treatment for all the new "learning disorders" that will be invented.

Re:What the hell costs $30k? (1)

komodo685 (2920329) | about a year ago | (#45038593)

I'm trying to figure out exactly how they figure they can justify $30k in the first place. It just doesn't make any sense from where I sit.

Agreed

What if it only cost $1 would you pay for it? Would you really? [rockresearch.com] Somehow I don't the the price is a reflection of a team of brilliant minds patenting some amazing new learning assessment test.

IQ tests are flawed [independent.co.uk] I'm sure these are as well, my impression is that these seem more like a way for rich people to fleece well meaning but not well grounded rich people out of money. Given the natural desire for people to want the best for kids and everyones desire to want to hear their kid is special/getting the best help/intelligent in their own way/etc I'm sure the marketing on this will be easy and virtually unchallenged.

I don't have kids but I suspect any results from this (annual?) test will be less useful then quality time by the parent spent learning what the child is interested in and encouraging growth in those areas. Something like this might be valuable one day but probably not soon.

I'm not sure this is the way to go. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038151)

Hmmm...while going through college it became clear to me that I would be better off in the long run if I spent time learning how to learn from other teaching techniques. Even if they did cater to me learning style in college, I wouldn't expect the rest of the world to cater to my specific learning needs.

Common core? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#45038181)

I wonder if he was advocating for Common Core [wikipedia.org] at the time. It's an education standard which apparently attempt to create a system of K-12 education where schools are synched up so that a student could transfer across the country near seamlessly. Individual-based teaching, if it should take root on a large scale would screw that system up.

Re:Common core? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038321)

Individual-based teaching could and should have the same common core checkpoints so they are not exclusive. Common core represents a goal, individual-based teaching the means.

Re:Common core? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038443)

In my experience of meeting with parents and watching pundits, the common core is one of the most misunderstood things in education. So much so, that it makes me suspect that there is a lot of money, somewhere, that is rooting against it and is actively spreading that misinformation.

Re:Common core? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about a year ago | (#45038389)

I think the two can coexist.

After all, the individual-based teaching is about how student A learns best, how student B learns best, and letting them learn Subject Y in whichever way they are better able to process it.

Moving cross country while you are in 4th grade and learning all the states and capitols? Have current school document how you are learning for next school.

"Yeah, Johnny? He does the route memorization moving thru the states in a grid like pattern, but his sister Jane does better trying to sing along with Wakko's 50 States [youtube.com] and skips around the map a lot"

Re:Common core? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#45038485)

Sadly, Common Core is being implemented here in New York in a horrible way. First, they paid Pearson $4 million to run these extremely difficult exams. Then, the results same in: Only 30% of students passed. (Some of the failing students were kids who did very well on previous tests. It was almost designed to make students look horrible.) They called it a "benchmark" but also began calling for the "death penalty" for public schools who don't raise their test scores.

How do you raise your test scores? By only teaching students what will be on the next round of testing. We're not teaching students to learn, we're teaching them to pass tests.

There's a group of parents rebelling (my wife and I are among them). We refused to let our oldest son take the tests and will refuse any other tests like this. Meanwhile, state education commissioner John King is of the opinion that students should be forced to take the tests whether parents like it or not. Some students have already been threatened if they refuse.

I like the idea of nation-wide standards, but Common Core (at least how it's been implemented in New York) is just making my kids hate school, not making them love learning.

Re:Common core? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45038553)

Tests are easy to measure and make a nice private company rich. Making the administrations lives easier and enriching their friends is the point of public education. If you disagree with that someone will be along shortly to call you a Marxist or worse.

SlashDot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038203)

...Is for idiots. This is total US crap as usual, but it always ends up here where people like to claim to be engineers making a good living, but fail to realize they are the greedy ones. They are the haves, the establishment. We all need to be equally poor, come on you greedy bastards.

I think I see the problem (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45038219)

So let me get this straight... the "senior advisor on innovation" thinks that data analytics will pinpoint successful systems for an individual, and do so accurately enough that parents would pay $30,000 a piece for it. I think I see the problem.

Data analytics can't predict the future. It can, however, give a good indication of statistical probabilities, such that the average effect over many individuals will be predictable. This is much more suited to evaluating new general techniques, rather than specific curricula. Evaluate a few tens of thousands of students, analyze what worked and what didn't, and try that as a program for everybody. On a widespread basis, you'll get good results.

For individual good results, the old way still works best: Encourage students and teachers to work together to understand each other, and take the time to understand what the student wants or needs to learn effectively. While the teacher can create a good learning environment in the classroom, the parents should continue that at home. If you're looking for a way to ensure your kid has a successful education, $30,000 of specialized data analysis won't help, but an hour of parent-teacher conferences just might. Then take the extra $30,000 and add it to teachers' salaries.

Economies of scale (1)

labreuer (950633) | about a year ago | (#45038227)

I hear that it's never a good idea to let the rich dump the first chunk of money into something.

Better: use common sense (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#45038239)

It is off course good that people finally recognize that pupils are different. For example, dyslectic people often have a good visual insight. So they would learn mathematics much easier if it was brought as Greek mathematics (drawing lines, squares, etc.) instead of as Arabic mathematics (i.e., in formulas). But I never met a mathematics teacher with such an insight.

Re:Better: use common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038409)

I'm dislexic, slightly autistic and I absolutely need to work harder than others when it comes to reading, comprehension and public speaking. If I focused only on my strengths however I would've end up being taken advantage of by those who can speak more eloquently and/or argue faster than I.

Re:Better: use common sense (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45038455)

Unfortunately classical geometry will only get you so far. Also, it's already taught as a standard subject.

$30,000 (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#45038313)

Just to put $30K in the perspective of education: it's approximately the cost of one year of tuition private school in my area (Boston), or 1.5 times the public expenditure for a year of public school.

Oh No! (1, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year ago | (#45038343)

Some people might be smarter than others??? That completely conflicts with the Democratic party ideal of equality for everyone. Either we're going to have to tax people based on how smart they are and use the money in a futile attempt to increase the ratings of the lowest scorers, or we may have to go to more invasive means to lower the scores of those who are unfairly smarter.

Re:Oh No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038459)

Some people might be smarter than others???

The problem is that less smart people who happen to be born to wealthy families may be able to crowd smarter people out of opportunities simply because they have money to buy customized education.

You do want the smartest people to succeed, don't you?

Re:Oh No! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45038577)

Some people might be smarter than others??? That completely conflicts with the Democratic party ideal of equality for everyone.

Some of the riffraff's kids might be smarter than the 1%'ers kids? That completely conflicts with the Republican party ideal of a self-reinforcing class system.

Idiot (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#45038377)

But Alec Ross, a senior advisor on innovation at the U.S. State Department, worries this would create a new class of haves and have-nots.

Please fire this advisor without delay. He apparently doesn't understand process optimization. This is nothing new; Educators have been aware for decades that everyone has their own learning style, and therefore curriculum is tailored to try and use as many of those methods as possible for mass education. However, it is highly inefficient -- someone who learns best from hands-on is sitting bored out of their skull while the teacher asks everyone to copy what's on the blackboard into their notebooks to help the people who learn best by doing that. And both groups are bored to tears during the Q&A where you invariably get those two people that need to talk their way through the material to understand it.

By tailoring curriculum individually and/or grouping students by learning style, the teacher wastes less time, the students remain more engaged and retain more of the material, and the overall program costs go down as the grouped students are able to learn faster. It's a dirty little secret that most of public education is busywork... homework doesn't work for many people, but because it helps "enough" people, everyone gets it.

So you have students being forced to learn in a way that is unnatural and awkward -- it's like forcing a left handed person to write right handed. Schools do this, and it causes neurosis and MRI scans of these people's brains a few years after being forced to use the wrong hand shows clear and unique changes to their brain. Now imagine we're doing that to everyone and it quickly becomes clear just how toxic our public education system is with its "one size fits all" approach.

Customized curriculum is a win for everyone. There are no losers in this; Everyone has a learning style, they're well documented, and we know what the percentages of each in the general population they exist in. Schools can plan for this. It's all statistics... and the larger the school, the more efficient it becomes, unlike the current model. Everyone talks about ratios of teachers to students, but that's the wrong model. We need to be thinking of ratios of types of students.

Re:Idiot (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#45038525)

Here! Here!

Right now there's a big push for "analytics" in the form of testing, testing, and more testing. We "need" the tests (they say) to make sure students are performing up to par. Then, to make sure teachers have an incentive to raise scores, the teachers' jobs or salaries are put on the line. (If you don't raise your scores consistently, bye-bye! No, we don't care that you teach special ed and your kids don't do well on tests.) All this does is heap piles of anxiety on students, make teachers teach to the test, drive good teachers from the profession, and decrease the quality of education all around.

But at least we'll have metrics for analyzing performance.

Re:Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038599)

I think pretty much everyone agrees that customized curriculum is good.

What people object to is the fact that it only applies to students with rich parents who are able to afford the $30000 analysis, irrespective of the student's own ability or potential.

What's the author's point? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038467)

The author's arguing against finding effective teaching models for individual students because there's a cost involved in doing so. Yes, there's always a cost for new technologies. Over time, we find efficient ways to deliver technology and the cost comes down.

There's no set cost currently for applying data analytics in education anyway; if costs end up low, the author's point may be altogether moot.

They don't even have to be that low. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about a year ago | (#45038669)

They don't even have to be all that low. Thousands of dollars per student would be an acceptable expense for a public school system if it meant students could graduate several years earlier than they otherwise would. It makes even more sense when you consider an individuals whole life, since the students who would normally slip through the cracks and end up in jail or on welfare would have a better shot at being accepted into society.

Wow! (1)

WSOGMM (1460481) | about a year ago | (#45038531)

That's one expensive assessment. I can't imagine that an educational assessment would cost $30,000. If they can manage to market that, good for them.

Analytics Ruining NY Schools (5, Interesting)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#45038583)

Here in NY we've given Pearson $4 million to give overly difficult tests to our kids. The result? 30% passing rate. To which the governor threatened to shut down schools who don't raise their scores. (He actually called it a "death penalty for schools.")

The quirk here is that charter schools and private schools are exempt from the testing. So if public schools are closed for not meeting ridiculous standards, more charter schools will be opened. Charter schools are run by businesses and - although they take public money - act more like private schools in that they can decide who attends. If your kids has ANY special needs at all, they can find themselves kicked out or rejected. So you'll wind up with the "haves" (students whose parents can afford private schools or who get into charter schools) and the "have nots" (students with special needs who are herded into the poorly funded remains of the public school system).

The more things change.... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year ago | (#45038657)

The more the stay the same. Using analytics to tailor education isn't new. In th 1950s and 60s, the analytics used were called IQ tests. Kids with high IQs were pushed into math and science, the rest took shop or home ec. Many countries, particularly in SE Asia still do this. So, the only thing that has changed is that today, we have more sophisticated analytics than before.

Some basic rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45038693)

1. The rich will always do better than the poor.
2. You can raise the minimum standards for the poorest, but you can't raise everybody to the maximum standard.
3. If you try to force everybody to the same standard, this necessarily implies pulling some people down.
4. If you try to pull people down, they will resist and you will expend resources fighting the resistance. This reduces the average productive output.

Please note that by "pulling down" I don't mean taxing. This isn't an argument against progressive tax. It's an argument against outlawing tactics that allow the wealthy to get ahead. A moderate program of taxation that aids the poor is quite OK, IMHO. It allows the minimum standard to keep rising as the maximum standard progresses. In some cases, the minimum standard of today ends up exceeding the maximum standard of yesterday. For an example, see today's air-conditioned houses in the projects vs. drafty castles of the middle ages. If they had attempted to take air conditioners away from wealthy people when they were first invented, the poor never would have had them.

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