15 December 2015

Back to Blogging, Smarter Balanced, and the Importance of Evidence

When I started this blog I set a few guidelines for myself. One was that I wouldn't blog about blogging. I'm violating that rule today; mostly because it's been nearly 11 months since my last post and I want to record my commitment to resume postings here.

Smarter Balanced

The main reason that I haven't been writing is lack of time. The graphic shows my email traffic over the last approximately 18 months. There's a jump around October of 2014. That's when Smarter Balanced converted to it's sustainable form as a unit in the Graduate School of Education at UCLA. A bigger jump occurred in early 2015 as we entered our first operational summative testing season. My workload is slowly improving as I've staffed up the Smarter Balanced technology team with talented set of individuals.

Here are a few of the things we've accomplished at Smarter Balanced since my last post:
  • Released open source for the test delivery system, digital library, and reporting system and proven out the open source solutions in full-scale deployments.
  • Grown the subscriber base of the Smarter Balanced Digital Library to more than 600,000 educators.
  • Administered tens of millions of interim assessments. (Since interim test results remain with states and districts we only have a rough estimate of the number.)
  • Administered summative tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics to more that 6.5 million students.
  • Gained Iowa and the Bureau of Indian Education as members (while, unfortunately, losing Iowa and Maine).
Of course, this hasn't been without challenges. Addressing challenges accounts for most of the growth in my email traffic.

The Importance of Evidence

Finally, as I return to blogging I want to re-assert the importance of evidence. Too many decisions are made based on preconceived notions, confirmation bias, and a charismatic messenger. Recent research into research (meta-research?) has indicated that even rigorous, peer-reviewed, research findings are subject to confirmation bias.

Conveniently for my own opinions, the evidence in favor of personalized learning continues to grow. I have a lot more to write about this in the coming months.

No comments :

Post a Comment