Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Value Added Measurement: Wanted Professional Palm Reader

Want to bet on a horse? Put your trust in a bookie whose job it is to predict winners after studying potential to win based on breeding, training, and standings in recent races. Want to invest in the stockmarket? Put your trust in a stockbroker whose job it is to predict companies that show signs of being a good investment, with potential growth, and a stable financial structure.

Want to know about a child's school achievement. Put your trust in an algorithm, a formula which will predict how much progress the student should make based on a complicated equation of 10 factors, but do not ask how it works. Florida determined that socio-economics would not be included as one of the 10 predicting factors.

StateImpact Florida and the Miami Herald
went looking for some explanation on how it will work and they got this answer:
"No lay person, teacher or reporter can understand it. So just trust us."

This formula will be used in Florida as the basis for merit pay this way:
The formula is designed to predict how students will score on the state’s standardized exam—the FCAT. And then it adjusts teachers’ pay depending on how well their students measure up against that predicted score.

Until recently, for $190 Chinese parents signed their children up for "palm-reading tests that could allegedly tell a child's intelligence and professional aptitude." Palm-reading tests have been determined to be pseudoscience and Chinese educational authorities banned the practice.

"Predicting is not an equation."

Related posts:
SB736/HB7019: The trouble with value-added measurement
NUT Report: "We have to do something."

Student Data Collection: Purpose, Costs, Risks?

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