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All In All, Kids Just Another Brick In the Data Wall

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the ok-the-lyrics-are-actually-on-point dept.

Education 110

theodp writes "If you don't have kids of school age, you may not be aware that Data Walls — typically a low-tech "dashboard" of color-coded sticky notes on a wall bearing the names of pupils to highlight their achievement level, absences, or discipline problems — are apparently quite the rage. This is much to the chagrin of some teachers, including Peter A. Greene, who rails against the walls-of-shame in Up Against the Data Wall. Why stop there, Greene asks, tongue-in-cheek. Why not have data-driven dress codes? Data-driven recess? Pooh-poohing concerns of teachers who think Data Walls are mean but feel pressure to create them, the Supt. of Holyoke Public Schools said, "It's not a mandate whatsoever." Still, he went on to add, "I would say 99 percent of teachers see the benefit of it," which some might take as an implicit mandate. In other student privacy news, New York's Supreme Court has ruled that parental permission is not required to disclose student data to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded inBloom, perhaps paving the way for the Great Data Wall of the U.S."

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Happy Saturday from The Golden Gils! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46312515)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Old concept (4, Informative)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#46312535)

When I went to school, exam scores were literally posted on the wall. Everyone's score, there in black & white, with their name next to it. That was how you found out how you did. It wasn't considered a crime against humanity at that time.

Re:Old concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46312761)

This is how we used to do it at uni, now we have some code that everybody can figure if they cared. Usually based on the date of birth and maybe some letter.

Re:Old concept (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 months ago | (#46313221)

Ours (U of Alberta) used our student id, which you could really only determine what year the person started going in [so you could tell if somebody was taking the course out of sequence [generally, a year or two later than everybody else].

Re:Old concept (1)

Wintermancer (134128) | about 2 months ago | (#46314103)

That brings back memories of going through the bowels of the Bio-sciences building to find out an exam score. If ever a building was designed by MKULTRA, it was the U of A BioScary building.

Re:Old concept (3, Insightful)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 2 months ago | (#46312831)

Is your perspective the one from someone who did his very best and still ended up on the bottom? Or from the perspective of a lazy bum who got good grades regardless, like most of us here?

It might work for selective education for the higher aptitude schools, but for comprehensive schools or the lower aptitude schools it's just going to demotivate those battling genetics and losing.

Re:Old concept (0)

The Cat (19816) | about 2 months ago | (#46313053)

It might work for selective education for the higher aptitude schools, but for comprehensive schools or the lower aptitude schools it's just going to demotivate those battling genetics and losing.

Oh, so scholastic achievement is tied to genetics now? Well, now that it's settled we can just test them at birth and throw all the 'D' students off a cliff.

Sometimes I wonder if you people even hear yourselves.

Re:Old concept (0)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 2 months ago | (#46313165)

"Oh, so scholastic achievement is tied to genetics now?"


"Well, now that it's settled we can just test them at birth and throw all the 'D' students off a cliff."

No, it's still valuable to society and themselves that they learn to near the best of their abilities ... demotivating them by consistently showing them up as being near the bottom of some list doesn't help in that regard.

Re:Old concept (-1, Flamebait)

The Cat (19816) | about 2 months ago | (#46313273)

No, it's still valuable to society and themselves that they learn to near the best of their abilities

Oh, but I'm sorry you're contradicting yourself. According to you all students learn to the best of their abilities. It's genetic, remember?

Also, according to you, no student can exceed their genetic potential, which renders meaningless all academic achievement. After all, what achievement is there in simply staying alive long enough to allow a chemical reaction to take place?

I know its very comforting for you to simply sweep aside things like hope, human potential and emotion in favor of equations, but I'm afraid the world won't fit in the small box you're trying to force it into.

I think you'll find that most civilized people consider valuing human life in genetic terms rather distasteful. That's the nicest way I can phrase it, by the way.

Re:Old concept (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313331)

Please don't strawman. This isn't tumblr.

Re:Old concept (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 2 months ago | (#46313481)

If you want to shovel shit, don't complain about the smell.

Re:Old concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313829)

Uh, you completely misrepresented his argument and are the one shoveling shit. Deal, then chill.

Re:Old concept (0)

The Cat (19816) | about 2 months ago | (#46314023)

[x] Posted anonymously
[x] Started with the word "uh" or "actually"
[x] Used some form of the phrase "deal with it"
[x] Post 25 words or less

Troll factor: 98.3%
IQ Estimate: 70
Recommendation: Ignore

Re:Old concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46314067)

[x] Conveniently misrepresents other people's comments in order to bolster their own argument.
[x] In recent post, makes comment that "every intelligent user" does from a place of authority.
[x] Does not follow simple and friendly advice.

Troll factor: 100%
IQ Estimate: Unavailable (because it's silly to estimate a stranger's intellect)
Recommendation: Lost cause - move on.

Re:Old concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313989)

The idea that everybody is somehow "equal" is about the least humanistic perspective I can think of.

Re:Old concept (4, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 months ago | (#46313303)

The evidence for genetic determination of academic performance is very weak. There's probably an effect, but not much of one. Socio-economic status of the parents is the major statistical factor. However, the intra-individual variance is large, showing that anybody can do well or poorly regardless of predisposing factors.

Re:Old concept (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313703)

Hah, and what makes you think socio-economic status isn't heavily influenced by genetics?

Re:Old concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313743)

The inbred pharaohs of Egypt

Re:Old concept (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 months ago | (#46318161)

They certainly had high socio-economic status; I don't think you can get much higher than semi-divine absolute monarch.

Their position was due to having a [very] large proportion of their genes similar to the previous holder of the post.

You seem to be arguing against your own case.

Re:Old concept (2)

TheSync (5291) | about 2 months ago | (#46316327)

Indeed, this paper [unc.edu] finds that 23% of the variance in educational attainment is due to heritability, and 41% is due to shared family environment. The heritability of education attainment is less than is typically found for cognitive outcomes (such as IQ) for young adults.

Re:Old concept (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 months ago | (#46313243)

And let all the 'C' and 'B'-level riff-raff bask in our presence?

Re:Old concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313639)

It's too late, everyone's already an 'A'-level student (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grade_inflation).

Re:Old concept (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#46313731)

Not everyone's gifts are for good exam scores.

Re:Old concept (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 months ago | (#46315333)

Which brings up this. When you try out for the school basketball team (or pick another sport), they seem to have no problem posting the names of the kids who made the team, and then publish in the school paper how every player did in each game, as well as how the team is doing in relation to other teams. Sure being on the team is optional, an extra curricular if you will, but we still have no problem comparing people when it comes to sport. Why can't the same work for academics? Making the scores public might demoralize some students, but also might make it more competitive, and push students to work harder.

Re:Old concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313811)

There's really no such thing as "scholastic achievement" to begin with, as there's not anything important to achieve. 99% of the time, it's just rote memorization, and the other times it's just trying to understand things someone already figured out. If you solve a difficult unsolved problem, though, you've proven yourself.

Intelligence is genetic, though. Some people just have gifts that others don't, and as someone without, I'm fully prepared to admit that people like Einstein are simply in an entirely different league.

Re:Old concept (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 months ago | (#46313163)

Is it a problem either way? Why not introduce people to what their life is likely to be. We are graded and judged with every move we make, often publicly.

We had a similar "data wall" (who comes up with this shit) at our primary school. We then had an anonymised version in excel format sent around each class at uni which was far more useful as you can see how far you were from the mean and what percentile you were in. No I'm at work and my life ends up in graphs (currently in a reliability team so my graph is reliability, availability, preventative maintenance backlog etc). Beyond that when I go out drinking I get judged by how much I drink, what I drink, who I'm with etc. When I go home I get judged by where I live.

How about we stop wrapping kids in bubblewrap. They will have to experience real life at some point.

Re:Old concept (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#46313681)

It isn't a judgement, it's feedback on how you are doing. If you are one of those people who obsess over being 57th out of 114, well, there isn't much anyone can do for you.

Re:Old concept (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 months ago | (#46313237)

It is most important that the wall is updated at least weekly, if not daily, otherwise, you might as well just stick with what worked best in the past, the stigma of being held back a whole year.

Re:Old concept (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#46313643)

it worked from my perspective of I found out my grade and my delicate psyche survived not being the highest grade in the class.

We're not talking about HIV status, we're talking about a chem midterm. Trust me, students will survive.

Re:Old concept (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 2 months ago | (#46313929)

Identical twins, one born at 23:55 Dec 31st and the other born at 00:05 Jan 1st. One is officially a year older and starts school a year ahead of the other one. Do they do the same in school even though genetically identical?

Re:Old concept (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 2 months ago | (#46315421)

Sorry, for most schools in the US, the cutoff date is in September or October, so your twins would still be in the same grade.

Even taking that into account, there's no way you could conduct such an experiment and control for environmental factors across school years like that.

Re:Old concept (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 2 months ago | (#46317397)

Yea, my first draft mentioned adjusting the dates to where ever the cut off is (it is the new year here in BC) and it is only a mental exercise. Still obviously the older kids in a class have an advantage and I know myself as one of the youngest in my grade I was at a disadvantage, especially at any physical stuff.
In the past kids born when food was plentiful also would have had an advantage.

Re:Old concept (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46312867)

When I went to school, exam scores were literally posted on the wall.

Same here! I was an under-achiever, and it didn't affect my self esteem in the least!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm late for my AA meeting.

Re:Old concept (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 2 months ago | (#46313009)

And we got gold stars on a chart I once got two for pointing out to the maths teacher that we had already done this last year :-)

Naked Posture Photos (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313463)

When I went to school, each young female student was required to strip naked, and allow a group of eugenicists, from foundations like those that Bill Gates works tirelessly to promote, to take intimate photographs of every part of their body. (Google 'Ivy-league nude posture photo scandal' if you don't believe me). This was just how new students were processed. It wasn't considered a crime against humanity at that time.

See how I use the same VILE PROPAGANDA methods of 'murdocj' to justify (by implication) an appalling abuse of Human Rights and dignity. And of course, the owners of Slashdot ensure 'murdocj's pro-Gates propaganda gets scored '5'.

When terrifying and sobbing young women were stripped and photographed by racist monsters like Sheldon, it most certainly WAS a crime against Humanity. When kids are mortified and humiliated by having their test scores contrasted with those of the rest of the class, it most certainly is a crime against Humanity. Teaching should be about bringing out the best in each individual. Many people are put off from exercise for life, for instance, by the abusive PE regimes at school that 'mock' the less able at sports.

Feeling stupid makes a kid 'stupid'- every decent teacher knows this. For most people, confidence and happiness is the only route to effective learning. Yes, the most able in any subject or ability usually have a vicious and ruthless ability to drive themselves, but such people learn with or without decent external teaching. The ordinary student of any subject (not the top 10% or whatever) is very vulnerable to all kinds of factors, and best practices in teaching will be highly sympathetic to the psychology of the averagely able.

Re:Old concept (1)

Saúl González D. (3429883) | about 2 months ago | (#46313733)

Still done that way in Japan. Then again, maybe the country with the world's highest teen suicide rate isn't the best example.

Re:Old concept (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 months ago | (#46313805)

Because we know that the only difference between Japan and the USA is posting scores. Glad we've settled that. Amazing that my classmates aren't all dead now.

Re:Old concept (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 months ago | (#46314839)

Still done that way in Japan. Then again, maybe the country with the world's highest teen suicide rate isn't the best example.

Except that it's unlikely the posting of scores is the cause. It's the Asian education system - basically you get through school, then at the end of high school, you take the Big Test(tm). This one test basically determines your future. Get a good score, you go to university and success awaits. Get a bad score, you're basically kicked to the curb, forced to spend your days as an underpaid labourer on a construction site or some other undesirable menial job.. Get somewhere in the middle, you can take some sort of trade school and hopefully be able to do something with your life.

Of course, parents, family, etc., want every child of theirs to get into university. Getting just "trade" is seen as "shame". Especially if the family is well off because both parents are from the "university" class.

Oh, and yes, this is the main cause - a kid who just misses, or has an off day, or whatever, well, their life is just as much over. The path is fixed and they're stuck, killing yourself is now seen as the only way to resolve shaming the family, and to avoid the fate that awaits.

Compare to western education systems where your entire future is NOT determined by some test, but by many other factors. Didn't get into university? Well, there's still plenty of options out there, you can go to trade school and be a well paid tradesperson, or you can be an entrepreneur and get success that way.

Plus, well, failure isn't generally seen as a huge issue in the west. Failed the test? Deal with it, and move on and make sure the next one you don't fail. The goal being that failure is just a temporary setback, and what's more important is how you recover from said failure than the failure itself.

Similar here (1)

aepervius (535155) | about 2 months ago | (#46314649)

When the exam was handed back to us to be signed by our parents, it was given in reverse order of notation. So bad note first, good note last. This added the benefit that the shame was not permanent (having it on the wall) but at the same time made sure our parents were aware of our school progress.

Re:Old concept (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 2 months ago | (#46314727)

This shouldn't be rated informative. There is a difference between posting tests scores for a single test, and having a daily reminder of absences and discipline problems. Coming in the day after a test and seeing a 60 next to your name is one thing. Then the test was removed. Contrast that with coming in every day and seeing that you have been sent to the office, and missed 4 days of school from when you got really sick, and no achievements next to your name. Every day.

In other words, it's not the same thing, and pretending it is misses the point.

Also there's no need to poke fun at the critics by trivializing it with language like "crime against humanity".

The point is - humiliation (especially long term daily humiliation) is not an effective motivator. Quite the opposite - it reinforces negative attitudes towards school and low self esteem.

There is no reason to support a system that makes teachers feel effective when that system is hurting rather than helping students. That's the only thing that matters - are we actually helping kids.

Re:Old concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46317029)

When I went to school, this concept seriously backfired. The school had a tradition - that had existed from the days of when my mother went to the same school - of the bottom 5 students being in charge of beating up the top 5 students on any exam. As a result it was a race to the bottom, as every student tried to land in the bottom third of exam scores. The unwary and prideful would score well only to find themselves condemned by the school at large - in a practice condoned by teachers and the principal. If you were in the top half of the class, you were shunned, teased, and all around made to feel like shit. If you were in the bottom 5, you were elite and required to physically destroy the top 5.

By my bitterness to this, you can guess where I regularly found myself. I did not understand the system, it made no sense to me. My parents would punish me if I was not in the top 5, which was worse than the school's hazing ritual. By fifth grade I learned my lesson, do not be at the top. For the next ten years of education, I did everything I could to sit at the 40th percentile. I would intentionally bomb tests, secretly checking the correct answer off or writing it in the margin, but leaving the official answer just barely wrong. I had teachers ask me why I did that, "You obviously understand." I lacked the words to explain it.

It took a brave teacher and a change to an educational institution that graded you based on your progress against yourself when I was in college to break this habit. It took another five years, including graduate school, to turn myself around. I tremble at the thought of the hundreds of thousands of dollars of education assistance (scholarships) and merit based recognition that I lost out on, because of "Data Walls".

I am sure they can be used for good. That my experience is an outlier. But they can easily be used to discredit, shame, and destroy people who are merely trying to achieve.

Re:Old concept (1)

Reziac (43301) | about 2 months ago | (#46317195)

When I was in school, it was much the same. Your test and sometimes homework scores were posted or announced for anyone to see. The result? Lots of peer pressure to do better -- if you were used to getting A's, you didn't want to be seen with a B. And guess what, peer pressure is what drives kids, more than anything else... and it mimics the judgments you'll later encounter in Real Life[TM]. -- We also had good teachers and good discipline. I don't think it's any big mystery why our school systems were near or at the top of the performance heap by every measure. Incidentally, my senior class of ~565 students had only TWO dropouts.

When I went to school (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 months ago | (#46312587)

Grades were private, but everyone knew who got the good grades and who got the bad grades, thus defining the middle as well.

Re:When I went to school (1, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 months ago | (#46312733)

I agree with the author - these public displays are stupid ideas driven by mediocre minds.

Having said that - you're exactly right. The students already know this info. It's been quite a few decades, but back when I was in school we certainly knew who the "smart" kids and the "dumb" kids were. We usually knew everyone's test scores because we kids talked about them.

But all that that doesn't mean the teachers or parents should be buying into this concept. It's almost certainly much more humiliating for a kid with low scores to see that exposed to the adults than it is to just have your classmates know it.

Re:When I went to school (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 2 months ago | (#46313369)

It's almost certainly much more humiliating for a kid with low scores to see that exposed to the adults than it is to just have your classmates know it.

Is this the same reason they no longer show the Olympics in entirety? All those people and all that humiliation of coming in last place. Those people should truly feel shame. I'm surprised their parents were even allowed to breed.

This brings back memories (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46312623)

I had my name on a literal wall of trouble-makers in elementary school. IIRC, about a dozen construction-paper pouches with citations in them. This didn't scar me or anything. It was just one facet of the insanity that came from growing up before anybody had heard of ADHD or Asperger's (I read more like an Asperger's case even though I was never diagnosed). This was back in the 70s. The wall neither hurt nor helped. Switching schools and slowly learning how to socialize via hard knocks and soft advice... that helped; but you never totally grow out of it.

analog records (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46315105)

A friend of mine got a job at the school district office. My transcript, the "permanent record" of my mis-spent youth seems to have been misplaced. I've always wondered if the NSA worker was able to microfilm it before it disappeared.

The old 99% claim... (3, Insightful)

Gort65 (1464371) | about 2 months ago | (#46312689)

"I would say 99 percent of teachers see the benefit of it,"

Not damning the point that the Supt. of Holyoke Public Schools made or supporting it, but I tend to distrust anyone who claims that 99% of a group supports their side to bolster their argument. I know, figure of speech, but still indicative... at least 99% of the time.

Re:The old 99% claim... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#46312855)

When somebody is talking about an allegedly 'data-driven' mechanism, hearing such...quality...statistics being used in place of actual evidence is concerning.

That's what concerns me (both about that specific quote, and about the practice generally). Anyone who thinks that students aren't acutely aware of anything useful to the noble causes of shame and bullying without adult assistance is fooling themselves. The feral little bastards certainly are. And if they aren't, they'll invent something and carry on.

The trouble is that the current fads for 'accountability' and 'data driven' and similar buzzwords tend to be severely lacking in the sort of expertise required to actually represent an improvement. Statistics is a perfectly valid field; but without expertise and care it's just bullshit with error bars. And is anybody optimistic enough to suspect that the teachers most in need of improvement are the ones who were just waiting to set loose the power of their statistics degree, rather than doing some cargo-cult implementation of 'best practices'?

Doing statistically driven work (especially given the bottomless supply of confounding variables in the social sciences) isn't easy, so the odds are less than inspiring when you see an educational fad that (allegedly) brings The Power Of Statistics to classrooms whose teachers are in dire need of reform. You really think that the teachers you are worried about are proficient in statistics? Or that the teachers who are proficient or better in statistics are the ones you need to worry about?

Re:The old 99% claim... (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | about 2 months ago | (#46313675)

More over, statistics tell beatiful stories about a sample/a groupe, but nothing really about an indvidual of said group.
Except a probability that this or that will happen, which far from a certainty (somthing that, it seems to me, most often than not is forgoten)

Re:The old 99% claim... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46314447)

Seeing that companies or a-holes like Gates are, for some reason, collecting data on students shouldn't be allowed.

I was going to say I see this Data Wall as a bullying tool by teachers to embarrass students. In old days you would go talk to the principle, or even the teacher would ask to talk with you. one-one, or 2-1 to find out what was going on. However the Principle, and or teacher would also embarrass you and not really give a shit about your troubles. I got the crap beat out of me on a regular basis, and I got "well there's nothing we can do", but when I would fight back, "you are a trouble maker and its detention for you". I would come up with excuses to study at home [part of the reasons my parents bought a computer] and say I was sick, of course the schools want a doctor slip, or some other BS written slip.

This is the problem with schools, teachers should have control over the a classroom, but as expected when you give anyone power the abuse it, now they want control over students who are more then likely not even trouble makers in class. I know of the students who skip school or class because they want to do something else. But all of this should be handled behind closed doors with the Principle and the student/parents.

Re:The old 99% claim... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46315011)

I am good friends with someone in the Holyoke IT infrastructure, and I have to say--these people are absolutely clueless about IT. Not only are they clueless about IT, but they're clueless about education, too. Holyoke is one of the WORST possible places you can live. Gunfire every night. EVERY night. Gang warfare, and pushers lined up on the streets outside the parks. The only nice part of town is the mall, and that's geographically isolated from the racially segregated ghettos. Heroin is a major problem. These are people who will shoot you for being in the wrong place with the wrong skin color--this certainly isn't going to decrease tensions and make everyone want to work harder. It'll just push them out to the street, where they can apply the lessons being taught to them by the experience of living in such a shithole.

what's up with what app (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46312699)

not that it's stuff that matters at all unless touting billionerror stuck deals

Kids need to understand why (2)

fermion (181285) | about 2 months ago | (#46312707)

I recall talking about 'time outs' for young kids. Using this as a punishment, some people think, is silly, but using it as a way to manage a child can be very useful. For instance, the behavior charts that provide immediate visual feedback to younger students is well understood and can be very useful in fulfilling the need of such children for concrete and fair feedback.

With data walls, viewable to kids, they have to understand what they mean. I can tell you even fro adults some data walls are incomprehensible. Simply posting data and using it rank students or whatever is quite meaningless. If data is going to be used to help students meet a goal, then the best way to do that is on a individual basis. Use the data to choose lesson to help the individual students improve. Part of this is the administration providing tools to direct the data toward student improvement instead of student or teacher punishment.

What's the problem? (2)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about 2 months ago | (#46312735)

I don't see the issue here. It's not like the students don't know who the smart and dumb kids are. Also, I think this could be a benefit if every teacher did it. If you have a class where everyone's struggling, it's a clue that you might need to adjust the material or address the teacher's skills.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 2 months ago | (#46312851)

I think the ethical problem is that now Microsoft also knows, and will be selling the information to advertising partners.

Negative reinforcement (3, Informative)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 2 months ago | (#46313125)

there's a lot of studies that show that once people develop a negative self image that they tend to take actions that reinforce that self image, often without realizing their doing it. i.e. if a person thinks they're dumb they become unable to do anything smart. This is where the "Precious Little Snowflake" movement came from. You praise kids even if they're not doing very well because if you don't they don't just get discouraged, they quickly come to believe that success is impossible and subconsciously sabotage themselves.

American Puritanicalism runs counter to this. The idea there is that adversity breeds character. I'm inclined to disagree with this. What I mostly see is adversity wears people down. The problem is that people who've been crushed at best fade away quietly and at worst end up in prison. Either way they're marginalized. The few that survive and prosper are much more visible. The phenomenon's called survival bias.

Re:Negative reinforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313199)

American Puritanicalism runs counter to this. The idea there is that adversity breeds character. I'm inclined to disagree with this. What I mostly see is adversity wears people down.

You might want to refine that thinking. I would propose that *constant* adversity wears people down. I've observed that occasional adversity that is overcome can provide enormous boosts to self esteem, especially at younger ages, which can result in a follow-on effect of producing teenagers and adults capable of blasting through many obstacles that would stop others in very short amounts of time.

I will agree that it takes the right sort of person, environment, and circumstances, though.

Re:Negative reinforcement (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about 2 months ago | (#46313283)

You don't have kids, I take it. My three year old constantly tells me things like "I can't do it! I don't know how! Help me!" when I tell her to do things like put her pants on or take her shirt off. I usually just ignore her and let her struggle for a while unless I actually need her to be dressed or undressed. She has also yelled that she is stuck and needs help from the middle of the foam pit in her gymnastics class and desperately pleaded for me to jump in and get her. I also once told her if she jumped high enough she touch the clouds and then watched her try (this ended with her asking me for a ladder).

The trick is to recognize when the kid actually can overcome the challenge and when they can't. If they actually cannot overcome the challenge, then it is pointless to watch them struggle. Otherwise, they need to learn that they actually can get themselves out of the pit.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313157)

There is a big difference between "students know who the smart and the dumb kids are" and emblazoning it on a wall for all the world to see.

If a kid has to look at a chart with their failure on it every day, it won't motivate them to work harder. It'll drive home their idea that they're worthless. That will cause them to mentally check out of school and devote little time to it. Their idea will be "I'm terrible at this, so why should I try?"

You don't do this to young children. It wrecks any dreams they may have before they even form them. There's plenty of time for them to learn that life isn't fair later on, don't drive the point home that early. It's destructive, wrong and borderline evil.

Another brick in the wall? (2, Insightful)

camg188 (932324) | about 2 months ago | (#46312759)

That album was released 35 years ago.
Quit making me feel old.

Re:Another brick in the wall? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46312985)

You and me both. "Isn't this where...we came in?"

In Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46312779)

This might work in Japan or Korea where obedience to authority is paramount, but not in the westernized world. In this part of the world, where children don't receive the additional tuition available to Japanese/Korean students, it will simply be a daily reminder of their failure with all the attendant emotional problems. It enforces teaching for the test, and relieves teachers from the task of making education a varied, practical and hands-on experience.

The kids should post one for teachers. (1)

Marrow (195242) | about 2 months ago | (#46312785)

After each class, the kids can put a thumbs up or thumbs down next to a teachers name for performance, comportment, engagement, and subject knowledge. Give the other students the chance to make informed decisions about whether to opt out of their class or switch schools.

Re:The kids should post one for teachers. (1)

geoskd (321194) | about 2 months ago | (#46312803)

After each class, the kids can put a thumbs up or thumbs down next to a teachers name for performance, comportment, engagement, and subject knowledge. Give the other students the chance to make informed decisions about whether to opt out of their class or switch schools.

Absolutely, becasue primary school students are always mature enough to handle that kind of thing responsibly

FERPA - This is not legal; also poorly conceived (4, Informative)

Don Davis (3512979) | about 2 months ago | (#46312903)

It is not legal to publicly display students' grades. It's part of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). A teacher could lose his license for sharing a student's grade with others. It seems that 'achievement level' should fall under that as well. This shows a poor understanding of behavior. Those students who might struggle will now be more motivated to act out or fail outright (rather than seem to struggle and fail).

[insert unacceptable vernacular here] (3, Insightful)

hiryuu (125210) | about 2 months ago | (#46312921)

So, against all tradition here, I R'd the FA, and saw the photos posted. My first reaction on seeing those data wall examples was "good gawd, some moron took the overly-simplistic KPI dashboard so common in the corporate environment and decided to put it in use in early grade school." The data behind this tool may be more meaningful - which is a completely separate debate, in regards to the efficacy of standardized testing, etc. - but if the usage of this tool is shaming, then it's going to do more harm than good. Word-of-mouth comparisons of GPA and such were harsh enough in high school, but putting this right up there for a five-year-old (and all his classmates) to see is just going to make the kids on the lower rungs see it as defining and thus leading it to become self-fulfilling. Some will withdraw, others will become frustrated and lash out, and all of it will fail to be helpful.

This is dumb.

Re:[insert unacceptable vernacular here] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313149)

Everyone is different. Some kids might be more motivated. One need not put names next to everything, but if you know how you did on the test, seeing how it compares to everyone else is still useful. In college I got a 33 on calculus test and was pretty bummed out about it. I talked to the professor and he said that the class average was 17 and that I was easily in the 90th percentile. The guy just wrote really difficult tests that kicked people's asses. Like everything else in life, there's a good middle ground. Obviously standing students in front of the entire class to shame them is bad, but so is giving everyone a sticker for "trying their best" when their best was terrible.

Re:[insert unacceptable vernacular here] (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 months ago | (#46313189)

And maybe it will force the top rungs to turn competitive, because ... well that's what actually happens with the top run of students? Also the lower rungs will figure this out anyway when they get their report cards and maybe scolded by their parents. If you're on the lower rung, chances are you're already being publicly shamed as a troublemaker by the teacher (remember the dunce cap). If they fail because they are compared to other students, they have no chance anyway.

Personally I think this is a good idea, but then I'm also not a fan of the no-child-left-behind type schooling which has plagued the western world as of late.

Data Walls are a way to identify Crappy Teachers (4, Informative)

McGruber (1417641) | about 2 months ago | (#46312925)

My partner is an elementary school principal. Her school has a small "data room", only accessed by teachers, in which she has posted "data walls". Her data walls are actually printouts of very large spreadsheets -- each row is a child, and the hundred of columns represent individual concepts that children have to master. For example, one column might represent "being able to add fractions", another might represent "being able to subtract fractions", another might be "being able to correctly conjugate verbs", etc.

The really cool thing is that these spreadsheets are generated (by software) after the children take computerized tests. Instead of just giving a numeric score, the software will show exactly *which* concepts the child does and does not know.

You would think teachers would love this technology because it would allow them to focus their instruction time on concepts their students have not mastered. Sadly, that's not the case -- instead, many long-time teachers who had always gotten "good" and "excellent" evaluations are suddenly being shown that they are not actually very good teachers. For example, the software can easily show that *none* of the students in a particular classroom have mastered a particular concept, such as adding fractions. If no student in that particular elementary classroom is able to add fractions, then it is pretty obvious that the teacher in that classroom does not know how to effectively teach adding fractions. Hearing that is pretty threatening to a teacher who has taught the same way for two or three decades.

Anyway, I posted because what the article calls a "data wall" is not really a data wall.

Re:Data Walls are a way to identify Crappy Teacher (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 2 months ago | (#46313001)

For example, the software can easily show that *none* of the students in a particular classroom have mastered a particular concept, such as adding fractions.

Not quite. The software can easily show that none of the students in a particular classroom passed a section of some test. But whether that test actually measures the ability to (e.g.) add fractions, is another question.

Quantifying things is easy. You can do it with a random number generator. Quantifying things in a meaningful and useful way is hard.

Re:Data Walls are a way to identify Crappy Teacher (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313673)

For example, the software can easily show that *none* of the students in a particular classroom have mastered a particular concept, such as adding fractions.

Not quite. The software can easily show that none of the students in a particular classroom passed a section of some test. But whether that test actually measures the ability to (e.g.) add fractions, is another question.

Quantifying things is easy. You can do it with a random number generator. Quantifying things in a meaningful and useful way is hard.

To be fair, it's not *that* hard. If your test has a set of questions asking the students to add fractions and they get them all wrong that does tell you something useful. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good and quite a bit better than the alternatives:

-Raise your hand if you know fractions. Good! 100% knowledge.
-This psychic is here to assess your ability to add fractions.
-You were here the day I explained adding fractions so you must know it.
-I don't know how to be absolutely certain you know fractions so why bother.

Re:Data Walls are a way to identify Crappy Teacher (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313109)

what the article calls a "data wall" is not really a data wall.

It's a wall of data.

Like every other wall of data out there, it's utility depends on the data being used, but a useless wall of data does not cease to be a wall of data.

Who tests the test-makers? (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 2 months ago | (#46314613)

You would think teachers would love this technology because it would allow them to focus their instruction time on concepts their students have not mastered

I'm pretty sure most folks who rail against this are of the very valid opinion that the books and tests themselves are not indicative of intelligence or success (other than by making it so because those who fail are made to think they're failures).

If the test is bad, metrics pointing out how badly some classes or students do on the test are besides the point.

The endgame is to privatize school - and push us back into the medieval times when only the rich could afford good schools (Which don't participate in this kind of joke of assessment), and the rest of the schools had little to no funding because they're pressured to constantly improve scores while the public is pressured to "lower spending" so we can spend our taxes on bridges to nowhere or the next big war (which really puts all that money into the military industrial complex)

Old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313007)

We had a wall of shame 30 some odd years ago in grade school. Trouble was some of us decided to see who could max out the 'shame'.

Private Data Walls Work (3, Informative)

enderwig (261458) | about 2 months ago | (#46313159)

FWIW, I am a public high school physics teacher who has taught physics to the bottom half and top half of the student population. The school I teach at is majority minority with a population that identifies as Caucasian at around 30% and African-American around 40%.

Nearly ALL students (and teachers for that matter) would like to see how they rank against others. Nearly all students also want their exact rank to be a secret. Highest grade, lowest grade, highest average or lowest average does not matter. One of the skills I had to learn was how to DISCRETELY pull struggling students aside to give them pep talks and advice on what they could do to improve their grades.

The struggling kids are shamed even if they publicly tell everyone they are ranked 99 out of 100. Adding another bad grade is just another poke at an open wound. ACTING stupid is okay if everyone thinks you are smarter than you look. No one wants to BE stupid. By being discrete, I've gotten quite a few that would do work for me.

I've also had to learn when and how to give kudos to the top achievers. For honor students, its a competition. Unless you are in the top 3, there is some shame associated to being "only" 5th. Knowing someone's rank is a little bit like knowing someone's true name in fantasy universes: there is some power in that knowledge.

Dealing with teenagers is like the super-position principle: it works until it doesn't.

Re:Private Data Walls Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46314021)

Around here, we prefer a continuous approach. Spelling jokes aside, I admire you for resisting the temptation to ignore the bottom 80% or so of the class, whose best-case outcome in life isn't going to be curing cancer or discovering cold fusion but staying out of jail.

No way, no how, could I do your job without getting fired in a week.

Re:Private Data Walls Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46314259)


"in Bloom'" was a Victorian paedophile code phrase (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313387)

Bill Gates created the inBloom full surveillance, cradle-to-adulthood CHILDREN'S DATABASE in partnership with Rupert "Fox News" Murdoch. Gates' Foundation actually pays teachers 'rewards' if they use 'intelligence' overheard from the classroom or parents to enter intimate family details into the inBloom database.

For child abusers in the USA, Gates provides an unprecedented service. The inBloom database is designed to allow the identification of PERFECT potential child victims. The status of the family and the status of the child can be trivially cross-referenced with the level of actual law enforcement and social service protection in the particular location where the child lives. You readers from the USA should have heard the scandals of American towns and cities where so-called 'rape-kits' (the forensic evidence gathered from rape victims) are never processed (for 'budgetary' reasons), allowing rapists operating in those locations to have VASTLY improved chances of avoiding prosecution.

When Rupert Murdoch (the other key partner of InBloom) was discovered to have ordered his newspaper people to engage in incredible levels of phone-tapping across the UK, Tony Blair in person contacted the Murdoch family and promised to use his influence to ensure the Murdoch's would suffer no legal penalty.

Bill Gates is also the force behind 'Common Core' (dumbing down the average American child, wherever they live), and the NSA in-home spy platform that most know as the Kinect 2 system of the Xbox One console.

When Common Core's 'new maths' teaching was introduced in schools across the USA, maths scores by AVERAGE pupils (ie., the 80% in the middle- not the top 10% or the bottom 10%) collapsed. Bill Gates had his propagandists flood media outlets with the statement that, because the MOST able maths students had unchanging scores, the fault of the declining scores of the average students lay with the students and their parents. Specifically that the parents were "resisting" the convoluted methods of 'new maths', and thus "confusing" their children as they tried to multiply and divide according to the 'new maths' methods.

Likewise, Common Core insists on 'phonetic reading' only. Proper readers see the 'shape' of words in a remarkable consequence of how Human pattern recognition works, and read by perceiving many words at the same time without conscious effort. When pupil tracking methods are used, such readers are scanning whole blocks of text.

On the other hand, many people forced to use phonetics-only to read never advance beyond this method. They read WORD-BY-WORD (often with accompanying lip movement). Their reading speed is less than 10% of those who lean to read properly, and their ability to quickly scan text is non-existent.

You can test the way in which YOU read by Googling any of the recent 'jumbled letter' text examples. Here a computer program is used to jumble the order of letters within each word, keeping only the first and last letter in place. People who can read PROPERLY find that, against all expectation, they can quite easily read the jumbled text. People crippled by Bill Gates' dumbing down have to painfully attempt to identify each word in turn, but lack the context of surrounding decoded words, which makes the task even more difficult.

Bill Gates is not shy about explaining why he wants the AVERAGE American dumbed down. He is a leading light in Eugenic organisations that trace their roots back to those early US institutions that gave the world forced sterilisation and so successfully influenced the Nazis in their programs of 'racial purity'.

Holyoke (3, Funny)

sunking2 (521698) | about 2 months ago | (#46313435)

The worst performing school district in the state. So it doesn't surprise me they are trying just about anything. It's also a major distribution point for most of the heroin in New England.

InBloom (4, Funny)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 2 months ago | (#46313609)

My wife and I have been fighting against InBloom in NY for quite awhile. They're planning on taking our kids' data (like grades, medical information, IEP status, etc) and upload it to an Amazon Cloud Server.

My three problems are:

1) It's not opt-in or even opt-out. We can outright state that we don't want our kids' data uploaded and they can just ignore us and upload it anyway.

2) Cloud server security isn't absolute. How long until it is hacked?

3) InBloom is reserving the right to sell the data to third parties who might be interested in it.

InBloom is a horrible idea. The only reason it is moving forward is that the New York state Department of Education has bought into the Gates Foundation's lobbying efforts.

Re:InBloom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46317059)

1) That has nothing to do with any data repository agency. That is controlled by the states and districts. From my understanding, inbloom doesn't control that. Take it up with your education agency. 2) No server connected to the Internet is ever secure from being hacked, but Amazon and ,from my understanding, inbloom seem to do it better than most. Amazon holds more security certifications than 99% of organizations out there and certainly more than the average school IT department. It is certainly better than the "underneath-the-desk" model that most schools seem to have with their local servers. Not only that, but see the comment below. Even if hackers got hold of the data, it is encrypted. No key, no unlocking the door at least until computers catch up in horsepower. 3) Whoever told you that inbloom is reserving the right to sell data to third parties is lying to you. From looking at their open source project (java, really?), it looks like all data is encrypted even to them. In other words inbloom can't even see meaningful data since it is encrypted from their perspective and the education organization holds the decryption keys. Not only that but I have seen a recent spate of articles stating that the in "no uncertain terms" will they ever sell or analyze data (they can't anyway with it encrypted to them), but that school districts seem to control that. I even talked to on of their officers at OSCON last year and they were adamant that they do nothing with the data and never will. They were a little flabbergasted that no one would believe them since they designed a system to hold data that they couldn't see. I hear all this talk about inbloom and very much agree with the mis-use of data, but it is not inbloom that is either enabling or actually mis-using the data. Look to schools that allow Data-walls to being with. inbloom is a nail. Look to who is using the hammer.

FAILZORS... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313665)

devel0pers. The

Anonymous in my experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46313701)

When I was in school (later half of the 90s and earlier half of the 00s) they had the walls but downplayed. For one it was a printout on a wall and two it was listed by student ID number. You might be able to pick up someone else's number but it was a basic level of obfusication.

Supreme Court is NOT the highest court in NYS (1)

RPI Geek (640282) | about 2 months ago | (#46314415)

I would like to take the opportunity to point out that the article is dead wrong on one specific point. In New York, the highest court is the Court of Appeals, not the Supreme Court proof [nycourts.gov].

2 things from a 20-year teacher (1)

krswan (465308) | about 2 months ago | (#46316979)

1) Based on teachers I know and have discussed this with (yes, yes, not a valid sample, blah blah blah...) I can't imagine that the 99% stat quoted is anywhere near accurate. Many teachers have problems with posting student data, especially in elementary school where I teach.

2) I can't think of one instance during my career where comparing "achievement levels" or anything like them have motivated the lower performing kids, the ones that the NCLP, RTTT, and other government programs say we are supposed to be helping by "analyzing and sharing data with kids". What I have seen happen over and over is jealousy and hatred formed for higher kids in the class, and the lowering of self-image and tendency to give up for the lower kids (not the ones scoring poorly because they are not really trying, but the ones who truly need help).

This practice is certainly the rage among administrators who don't actually have to deal with kids though.

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