Thursday, April 14, 2011

No Datapoint Left Behind

Cold again. Bah. Not freezing, but still bah. Puts me in a curmudgeonly mood, just in time for a sheaf of papers Lilly brought home from school today.

Rosa Luxemburg Junior High insists that I micromanage my eldest daughter's studies. Or at least that's one interpretation of the Student Summary Reports they send home six times a year, complete not only with an "in-progress grade" that breaks her grades down into as many components as the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index or some such. For instance, her "Trimester Achievement Grade" in Spanish breaks into Homework (20%), Formative Assessments (30%), Summative Assessments (¿qué?) (30%) and Daily Work/Participation (20%).

That's not all. There's a list of assignments she's done in each class. My own favorite is in Language Arts -- good to see that pedagoguese for English still kicking around -- under the subcategory "Achievement JRH Grade -- LAR Writing Communication." Therein I find New Friends Extended Response; Tone Paragraph; Lesson 18 Sentences; Lesson 30 Vocabulary Sentences; Noble Experiment Response Questions; Figurative Language Poster; Lesson 25 Vocab [sic] Sentences; and "Thank You, M'am" [sic] Response Sentences.

What's going on here? Do I need to know all that detail? Is it to persuade me that the teachers are doing their jobs? (I'm sure they are.) Does the administration insist the teachers do it to make it look like the administration is on top of things? Since the papers are clearly computer printouts, can I trace it to some educational software developer who sells schools on the idea of More Better Data? A state mandate of some kind? Parents who demand this kind of information?

Then again, I think I will ask Lilly just what Noble Experiment Response Questions and Tone Paragraphs might be. I could stand to learn something new myself.

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