July 2013

Big data systems still not answering which education programs work

Information Week‘s Michael Fitzgerald wrote about Colorado public school’s use of big data on July 29,2013.  The state’s educational data program is now four years old and stores all kinds of facts and figures about 860,000 students in 2,000 schools, but it’s still unable to answers the questions that education policy makers want to know, […]


Misuse of NAEP scores

EdWeek’s Stephen Sawchuk wrote a piece on the misuse of NAEP score data by politicians and advocacy groups. The parsing claims sidebar has a few examples of prominent people an organizations who’ve made some elementary mistakes. Use of Data: “Public education is supposed to be the great equalizer in America. Yet today the average 12th grade black […]


College towns are smarter

Venture Beat reports that the towns with the smartest people are small college towns, based on how more than 3 million people around the U.S. performed in brain training games created by Lumosity. VB explains, “These games measured performance across five cognitive areas: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention, and problem solving. Then the scores were […]


More college educated parents, but their kids are not getting smarter

Here’s another data puzzle I’ve been thinking about. Why is it that more and more kids have college educated parents, but high school test scores are not improving? In 1978, only 32 percent of the parents of 17-year-old students had obtained a college degree. In 2012, 51 percent of the parents of 17 year olds […]


Can an algorithm ID high-school dropouts in first grade?

Early warning systems to detect high-school dropouts are all the rage in education data circles. See this post on a new early warning system in Wisconsin. Like the Wisconsin example, most data systems focus on identifying middle-school students. But what if researchers could use grades, attendance and behavior data to identify at-risk students as soon […]


Principals likely to overlook girls who are at risk for dropping out of school

In the Spring of 2013 Wisconsin tested a a data-driven early warning system that can identify which middle-school students are at risk-for dropping out of high school. After 5800 students were identified for teachers and counselors to work with, the principals of these schools were surveyed on whether they were already aware that these students […]


Education not as “pink” in the media as it is in the classroom

I was surprised to read on Jessica Bennett’s tumblr blog that male sources outnumber female sources on the front page of the New York Times, even on the subject of education. Technology, politics, sure. But shocking that there are 8 male sources for every 3 female ones, when 76 percent of teachers are female. As […]


Rich kid, poor kid, fewer middle class

David Johnson, chief of the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division at the U.S. Census Bureau, points out that the latest data on U.S. children, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-being released on July 8, 2013, shows growing concentrations of rich and poor. “We see an increase in the children living at the high […]


Colleges struggle to release data on post-graduation employment and other metrics

Inside Higher Ed reports that a pilot group of 18 colleges are stumbling to release data on their education outcomes and post-graduation employment. “(T)he holes in the data were too large,” writes Inside Higher Ed’s Paul Fain, in explaining delays to the Gates Foundation-funded Voluntary Institutional Metrics Project.


Private schools decrease by 7.5 percent

Fewer students are enrolled in private schools and there are fewer private schools in the United States than there were two years ago. That’s according to the latest private school data, released on July 9, 2013 by the National Center for Education Statistics. In the fall of 2011, there were 30,861 private elementary and secondary […]


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