Assessments that overvalue and undervalue – what are we doing about them?

I’ve changed my routine for watching TED talks. Because I have pivoted from viewing one a day, I watch a few on the weekends. As I was “catching up” this morning, Susan Etlinger’s talk, “What do we do with all this big data?,” stopped me in my tracks.

He was teaching himself to communicate, but we were looking in the wrong place, and this is what happens when assessments and analytics overvalue one metric — in this case, verbal communication — and undervalue others, such as creative problem-solving. Communication was hard for Isaac, and so he found a workaround to find out what he needed to know. And when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense, because forming a question is a really complex process, but he could get himself a lot of the way there by putting a word in a search box.

I am thinking a lot recently about assessment, progress reports, and how we communicate about what we most deeply value in schools. Etlinger poses such a powerful challenge: “This is what happens when assessments and analytics overvalue one metric and undervalue others.”

What are we overvaluing and undervaluing on our school progress reports? If we look at our students’ report cards, do they express what we most deeply value? Across the city, state, country, and world, we should be deeply involved in resolving such a question.