“The future of assessments is online, but so is the future of teaching and learning,” the state assessment task force declared. But our state education department’s use of technology is not exactly an advertisement for technology’s power to inform and instruct.
Yesterday the state Department of Education posted a website designed to rate all of the state’s schools against one another on reading and math test scores. Set aside for the moment whether that’s a good idea; after all, our legislators made them do it. But the site is a mess.
Here’s an example of a graph designed to show the reading proficiency of the kids at my local elementary school:
What are we to make of this graph? How is the green line (labeled “Students Meeting Proficiency”) different from the blue bar (labeled “Meeting Proficiency”)? Why is the green line a line at all? Does the x axis have any meaning whatsoever? If not, what do the dots on the lines mean? And why are the little informational boxes positioned to block the view of the orange and blue bars? (It gets worse.)
Meanwhile, see if you can find your school’s dot on this graph.
Meanwhile, see if you can find Iowa City’s West High School in the site’s drop-down menu. Not so easy.
You might try to figure out what’s going on by clicking on the “More Information” drop-down menu, which has links for “Website Introduction,” “FAQ,” and “Report Definition.” None of the links work.
The site worked even less well on a mobile device than on a desktop.
These are the people who are going to tell us how to improve our kids’ education through technology? These are the people who are going to implement the proposed high-tech (and debacle-prone) Smarter Balanced standardized tests?
More on the rankings here.