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Future of educational assessment and student data

On September 3, 2008, in Assessment, Education, by Socrato!

In an interesting article from Dr. Mostafa Mehrabani – McGraw Hill Assessment and Reporting President, he shares his thoughts about the future of educational assessment and reporting. Looking at the trends, I believe the underlying shift in education (and the impact of technology on it) is going to be bigger than Dr. Mostafa’s article projects.

Here are a few of my observations:

  • The educational data belong to students, but unfortunately students don’t have any way to carry it around easily. Dr. Mostafa makes a point that the data should be like health records. I will go a step further and suggest that education data should be more like a combination of health records and financial records. Think of the data in Quicken / Quickbooks. The data belong to students and should therefore be accessible to them everywhere. The data should also be capable of providing insight into educational decision making. For example, Quicken provides insight into sources of income and categories of expenses. In the same way, educational records, educational data should (and we believe will) provide insight into strengths and weaknesses of students, as well as strategies and recommendations to manage them.
  • For k-12 students the information should be available to parents when they want it and in broken out in a detailed format. Given that people can receive weekly summaries on Facebook or Linkedin about what their connections are doing, or from Quicken about what bills are due in coming week, why should people be able to receive information about their kids’ education status, e.g., how they are doing academically on the weekly basis in class and where they need to focus to improve in a given area? I believe this real-time, detailed data access will improve transparency and participation from parents to help their kids.
  • The convergence of Summative and Formative Assessment is happening. As I referenced in my previous article about this topic, it makes lot of sense that each formative assessment should into summative assessment.

There is certainly a “tipping point” building up in the education space. The question is what is: who will become the Napster in the education arena?

-Raju Gupta