Re: DSM: data improves school

Robert Swanson (
Sun, 05 Nov 2000 23:02:59 -0800

on 11/3/00 7:41 PM, Rick Stansberger at wrote:

> Robert,
> When you say, "taking data on schooling," what kinds of data are you thinking
> of, and how does "data on schooling" differ from "data on student achievement?
> Rick
> Robert Swanson wrote:
>> Whereas taking more data on student achievement won't improve school, taking
>> data on schooling can be a catalyst for change.

I tried to email the people doing the study on schooling asking for
methodology and results -- the mail was returned.

>From my viewpoint, taking data on students usually involves testing short
term memory function during a state of fight-flight. These tests also test
ability to take tests. I doubt there is much relationship to intelligence or
the effectiveness of education. [Today I asked an A-student in college to
log his garden work on paper -- columns for date, times, totals and paid
date. He couldn't. I did it for him.]

Taking data on schooling has some interesting possibilities. This could mean
counting how often the teacher calls on girls for answering math and science
questions (I understand that even the most conscientious teachers tally as
bias). They could count attentive behaviors during lectures. Or they could
count how many assignment questions arise immediately following a
presentation. These consider the influences of teacher behavior which may be
important to student learning. The study may begin rather abstract and,
after analysis, refine its focus.

What schooling data might be more interesting? How about counting student
self-initiated exploration when exposed to various environments containing a
set of opportunities. Watch what happens in these environments when various
age groups are mixed. Count cooperative behaviors when competitive
influences are removed and replaced with communication exercises. Count
interruptive behaviors, and then introduce "Nonviolent Communication" with a
focus on expressing feelings and requests. Watch the numbers change. (Hey,
this could be fun!) In these the teacher is not the focus. Here we
acknowledge the broader scope of influences on education and intelligence.


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