While I am fascinated, in some ways, with analytics like the one below emailed to me from WordPress, I can’t help but think that “the numbers” only tell part of the story for me – a minor fraction. They certainly don’t tell the most compelling parts of the story, in my opinion. Not by any stretch.
So much more than the number of views or most-read posts, I care about HOW the writing-as-thinking represented here has changed me, and, hopefully, how it has potentially helped change others.
In this regard, such analytics and report cards make me think about what our school report cards lack and suffer from, as story tellers. If I look at my collection of report cards, I see mostly quantitative analytics – proxies for some measurement of my learning and development. Inadequate dashboards claiming to summarize me as a learner of math, English, science, economics, etc.
Perhaps these quantitative measures must play a part in telling my learning story. I’m not convinced. But certainly, we in education can devise better proxies for telling the stories of human development, deep learning, and awe-inspiring growth.
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Interesting, Bo. I am a numbers person, always diving into the statistics and searching for patterns. But, I learned very quickly in my graduate work (thanks to some absolutely wonderful anthropologists, sociologists, and psychologists) that numbers will never tell the whole story. I was thankfully taught a balanced approach to quantitative and qualitative study, and I think this should also apply to “report cards.” Yet, I have found that this can also be a limiting way to communicate progress beyond our school walls– be it to parents or to the next school. Only in conversation or direct observation can a more “full” story be told. Wouldn’t it be great to have an executive summary on a digital portfolio of a child, where a teacher speaks for a few minutes about the child and references work that is attached? Then, to have students also speak in presentation style as well and reference evidence of their learning, what they are particularly proud of, and what their continued goals and passions are. Wow– wouldn’t that be exciting!
Thanks, Angél. My graduate training with Dr. Pajares and others also included a healthy balance and interaction of qualitative and quantitative data representation/reporting. I continue to think and work towards progress reports and report cards that reflect this combinatorial wisdom of a both/and approach with quant and qual. I think we in schools have a ways to go with that balance, and I think we need to reconsider if report cards filled an information need in decades past that they now no longer need to serve. A more regular diet could replace the binge of the semester report card.
I like your idea about the executive summary on an ePortfolio – both adult and child voice. It would be exciting!
Thanks for commenting and contributing. Your presence here is always appreciated.
That is a lot of people! I am proud to be in your audience.