Yesterday I posted about the pre-release headlines on a USDOE study that concluded that certain educational software packages did not increase standardized test scores, and why this will hurt efforts to promote ALL technology use in classrooms.
Today the study is out and here’s the link
. It's called: Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products: Findings from the First Student Cohort.
And guess what, the first sentence
of the summary already says it’s about “education technology.” That’s just plain sloppy.
I've glanced through it, and I'll read it again thoroughly. It's pretty much what I guessed yesterday, big publishers with big products that claim to raise test scores in math and reading. The "student achievement" they tested was based on standardized tests.
Oh well, too bad, test prep software doesn't work and standardized tests are bad assessments. They deserve each other. I'm not crying for these companies who have been promoting their effectiveness in increasing test scores, or the districts who pay millions of dollars hoping for a swift solution to avoid the hard work of teaching and learning.
So on the one hand, I'm glad the USDOE had the guts to publish this study. On the other hand, they allowed the publishers to hide behind aggregated results.
Classroom 2.0 advocates have to be clear that what we are talking about are student (and teacher) empowerment and agency, not tools, or else it becomes muddled with everything else that plugs in in a classroom. We also have a duty to be critical of "solutions" offered by vendors that co-opt the language but don't deliver. We have to be willing to say that out loud online, in schools, and to people outside of our own circle of friends.