Luddites, technophiles, and student data...oh my!

See all posts
Technology only works if you use it. Unfortunately for New York City, which spent $83 million on an information system in 2008 to track student attendance and performance, 42 percent of NYC teachers aren't even logging in.

An audit conducted by the NYC comptroller (and possible mayoral candidate) looked at data on the information system's usage and surveyed teachers and principals about the system. City education officials argue that the survey did not elicit enough responses to be meaningful, as only 1 percent of teachers responded.

In several notable cases, teachers have developed their own data tracking systems, which are being used in a number of city schools. One teacher, fed up with the inability to track which classes students were skipping, programmed his own software and added a feature to allow teachers to track students' assignments and progress—all features missing from the official city software.   

There is clearly power and potential in technology, but in order for it to make a difference, it's got to measure the right stuff and be used! 

Susan Douglas