It would be nice if students could spend their time is school under the careful instruction of their teachers. There is, most certainly, an argument to be made that there are too many evaluations, changes, and reports on teacher effectiveness. That being said, there is also reason to evaluate, compare, and consider new teaching techniques.
Years in education have led me to the conclusion that not all schools, teachers, and students are the same. The best will always do great and most of us want to believe that ours belong to the best — at least above average. The sad fact is that there are so many out there in need of help. Effective evaluation can help identify those in need and methods that can improve outcomes.
This does not mean that every new idea is immediately great or statistical analysis should be used in isolation. I admit, it is too easy to see students struggling and try something new or to look to the bottom line statistics to lay blame. At the same time, the effective and careful use of statistical methods can drive positive change. The question is when, who, and how to help students while protecting student data. In coming blogs, I plan to investigate these issues.
I will say. My personal opinion leans toward a mixed method approach. Statistics can provide some information but —especially on the classroom level — more is needed. It takes a teacher, looking the child in the eye to see the underlying causes. That is naturally qualitative.