Today in "Things Teachers Have Been Saying For Twenty Years But Are Now Being Verified By Research," we present Heather Hill, a professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Hill has recently publicized some of her recent study which somehow combines the obvious with dubious conclusions. Here she was at EdWeek back in 2020:Question: What activity is done by most teachers in the United States, but has almost no evidence of effectiveness in raising student test scores?
Answer: Analyzing student assessment data.
This practice arose from a simple logic: To improve student outcomes, teachers should study students’ prior test performance, learn what students struggle with, and then adjust the curriculum or offer students remediation where necessary. By addressing the weaknesses revealed by the test results, overall student achievement would improve.
|Oh, look--the sun is rising in the East|
Well, the "simple logic" was never simple nor logical. Or rather, this is what teachers already do with their own testing. What was actually proposed was that students take a poorly designed test, followed by providing teachers with very little data, much of it bad, in order to raise test scores. Teachers knew pretty much immediately that A) this was not going to work and B) wasn't even that great of a goal.
Hill has some thoughts about why using test data hasn't improved anything. They are not great thoughts, and we get the hint in the very next sentence.Yet understanding students’ weaknesses is only useful if it changes practice.