Week 5: Organizational Implementation

Standards, measurement, and learning analtyics

Standards, measurement, and learning analtyics

by George Siemens -
Number of replies: 7
Yesterday, during Linda's excellent presentation (recording is here: http://www.learninganalytics.net/?page_id=71 ), I was struck by how closely aligned learning analytics are with state and national level metrics and standards. I find this to be a bit disconcerting. Analytics, from my perspective, should primarily offer new insight into learning and options for learning interventions, rather than as a measuring tool for state, provincial, or national standards. Standards are a target for the purpose of comparison - mainly for administrators and politicians. Does anyone share my concerns? Or what am I missing?

In reply to George Siemens

Re: Standards, measurement, and learning analtyics

by Borivoj Brdicka -

George,
I am sure that the application of analytics on the level of district or even state (=nation in my case) is so tempting, that we can expect the intention to use it. I am afraid that this is less possible in the conditions where the learning goals (standards) are more general than on the level of higher education.
There is a big danger the application of analytics in the lower grades could determine the methodology of teaching too much. The only possibility is to measure all goals including the ability of self expression etc. Such a complex analytics is still not possible. So, it is necessary to give the teachers some space and the responsibility.
I think we can use the analytics tools only partly and primarily as a feedback to students, parents and teachers.

In reply to Borivoj Brdicka

Re: Standards, measurement, and learning analtyics

by Kelly Edmonds -

I felt the same, George, when I read the Educause article from this week's materials. However, what you/we are exploring now is a bit of a paradigmatic shift. I think turning the large ship of the educational structure, reporting and accountability right to the level of government will be slow. I don't think they have grasped the idea of network or distributed learning.

However, developing analytical techniques to provide different measures or results, as explored in this course, and packaged for easy use will provide institutions with a tool they might embrace. In essence, it might take applied research to prove it to established organizations.

In reply to Borivoj Brdicka

Re: Standards, measurement, and learning analtyics

by Kelly Edmonds -

I don't know if I agree with you, Borivoj. I guess it depends on one's philosophy of education. smile

You state, analytics "could determine the methodology of teaching too much". I am not completely convinced we shouldn't provide some structures and frameworks versus allowing a more loose approach to teaching - however, even the most liberal teachers learns and uses methods on some manner- no tabula rasa there. Research has been done on how kids learn, the curriculum has been developed, and modern versions of teaching are unfolding (albeit, slowly). There is a base to work from (and improve).

If we don't use our findings from applying analytics, what will we use them for if not to inform our practice?

In reply to Kelly Edmonds

Re: Standards, measurement, and learning analtyics

by Larry Phillips -
The problem with the use of analytics in education is the tendency of the measures to drive instruction and related activities. Alberta has grade 3,6,9 achievement tests and diploma exams. Schools do teach to the test and alter professional development and extra curricular activities to do well on the measured activities.

My article "Students and Standards" http://clubweb.interbaun.com/~l-pphillips/edarticles/studstand.htm
reports on what 16 schools did to meet their achievement test goals. My favourite was "curriculum related extra curricular activities".

close unique collaboration withe some offing most arts toed enable people toed discover view more than a thousand ins extraordinary detailSearch Clusty
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Standards, measurement, and learning analtyics

by Adam Weisblatt -
Isn't there a difference between measurement and analytics. I don't trust blind measurement because I feel that it can be manipulated. Analysis on the other hand is the act of using data the make decisions about taking action. When senior management asked for measurements from our IT team the lead always asked "How long is a piece of string?"
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Standards, measurement, and learning analtyics

by Nancy Parker -
George
Your question rests on the balance between the need for accountable and transparent responses to key stakeholders (government and other funders, tuition payers, etc) and the desire for institutional autonomy especially as it relates to academic freedom.
Statewide systems (like Georgia) can provide some large data sets for interesting investigations but it is always important to remember that Analytics are not neutral. The questions asked will lead eventually lead to business/policy decisions.
Confusing external reporting needs/requirements with information needed for internally driven improvements is one of the reasons why we need good data governance and well informed leadership.
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Standards, measurement, and learning analtyics

by Apostolos Koutropoulos -
I agree.
For me analytics *is not statistics*.
With Stats you are looking for specific things (perhaps reporting to your bosses about the progress of something), but Analytics on the other hand is more about *discovery*. I tend to think of analytics as something related to data mining. You can use it to see patterns that are otherwise obscured.