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Recently, I read an essay in Education Week by Alfie Kohn titled, “Turning Children into Data – A Skeptic’s Guide to Assessment Progr...” Mr. Kohn is noted (think outspoken critic) for many of his positions related to the grading and testing practices that are prevalent in schools across the country. He begins with a quote from Albert Einstein

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

He goes on to make several interested points about the growing use of “data” as a buzz word that drives need for additional assessments to create more data…. Here is an excerpt:

In attempting to track and boost achievement, do we damage what’s most critical to long-term quality of learning: students’ desire to learn? It’s disturbing if a program is so preoccupied with data and narrowly defined skills that it doesn’t even bother to talk about this issue. More important, look at the real-world effects: Once a school adopts the program, are kids more excited about what they’re doing — or has learning been made to feel like drudgery?

As I think about Saline Area Schools and our use of data, I feel like we are walking the line…. seeking and using data to provide us feedback on how our students are learning, while still focusing on developing critical thinking skills and the desire for lifelong learning.


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