Saturday, August 23, 2014

Are Common Core Standards Actually Data Tags? | Peter Greene

Are Common Core Standards Actually Data Tags? | Peter Greene:

Are Common Core Standards Actually Data Tags?

Posted: Updated: 

 Don't think of them as standards. Think of them as tags.

Think of them as the pedagogical equivalent of people's names on Facebook, the tags you attach to each and every photo that you upload.
We know from our friends at Knewton what the Grand Design is -- a system in which student progress is mapped down to the atomic level. Atomic level (a term that Knewton lervs deeply) means test by test, assignment by assignment, sentence by sentence, item by item. We want to enter every single thing a student does into the Big Data Bank.
But that will only work if we're all using the same set of tags.
We've been saying that CCSS are limited because the standards were written around what can be tested. That's not exactly correct. The standards have been written around what can be tracked.
The standards aren't just about defining what should be taught. They're about cataloging what students have done.
Remember when Facebook introduced emoticons? This was not a public service. Facebook wanted to up its data gathering capabilities by tracking the emotional states of users. If users just defined their own emotions, the data would be too noisy, too hard to crunch. But if the user had to pick from the Facebook standard set of user emotions -- then Facebook would have manageable data.
Ditto for CCSS. If we all just taught to our own local standards, the data noise would be too great. The Data Overlords need us all to be standardized, to be using the same set of tags. That is also why no deviation can be allowed. Okay, we'll let you have 15 percent over and above the standards. The system can probably tolerate that much noise. But under no circumstances can you change the standards -- because that would be changing the national student data tagging system, and THAT we can't tolerate.
This is why the "aligning" process inevitably involves all that marking of standards onto everything we do. It's not instructional. It's not even about accountability.
It's about having us sit and tag every instructional thing we do so that student results can be entered and tracked in the Big Data Bank.
If you are in a state that "dropped" the Core, here's one simple test -- look at your "new" standards and ask just how hard it would be to convert your standards/tags to the CCSS standards/tags. If it's as simple as switching some numbers and letters, Are Common Core Standards Actually Data Tags? | Peter Greene: