This paper by Bryan C. Hassel explores two cutting-edge trends that have revolutionized organizations in other sectors: mining the mountain of data generated by the daily activities of employees and customers, and tapping the “wisdom of crowds.” Appearing in the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s volume A Byte at the Apple: Rethinking Education Data for the Post-NCLB Era, the chapter highlights the experience of organizations ranging from Amazon.com and Google to Wal-Mart, Capital One, and the NYC Police Department to describe how these techniques have made quantum leaps possible in other sectors. Potential education applications include learning from the “clicktrails” that students leave behind as they engage in software-based activities; inexpensive randomization of instructional techniques to spur more rapid learning about “what works”; and tapping the wisdom of teachers nationwide to enable the best lesson plans to rise to the top. View Fordham’s webcast of the release event here.
Assessment and Data
In 2008, Ohio added a new “value-added” component to its accountability system, which examines the academic gains made by students over the course of the school year. This 12 page primer, written by Bryan Hassel & Jacob Rosch for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, is designed to help non-specialists such as journalists, policymakers and the general public understand the basics of value-added, and what it means for schools and children in Ohio.