Teachers focus on (this is going to be a shock, wait for it)…teaching. They themselves attend continuing education each year to learn the latest in educational theory and practice. They strive to achieve the best learning outcomes for their students.
But how can they be sure about the impact their programs are having with students? The science of measuring educational impact is different from the practice of teaching.
The question of impact is, of course, vital to answer. But teachers aren’t data scientists. And too often, in well-intentioned but poorly designed efforts to measure their impact, teachers are forced to extend their already long workdays by pouring over data dashboards, which don’t really answer the most important questions.
Currently when schools and school districts want to figure out which of their programs are having the desired effects on students (e.g. “Is this after school tutoring program increasing students’ reading test scores?”) they have to hire external consultants to come in and do a sort of research study called an “evaluation.”
This can be expensive and take a few months. As a result, the vast majority of programs and interventions being used by educators have not been evaluated and do not have solid evidence to back them up.