Posted on Feb 16, 2015
Canaries in the Data Mine: Who are they, where are they, and what are they doing there?
When we ask education administrators “How many students with disabilities are enrolled in online learning, which of these students do best in which types of environments and how are they progressing?” we are met with blank stares. They simply do not know. They may be able to tell us how many of these students were enrolled at the start of a semester, and whether the academic outcomes for these students were positive or negative. Are these student still engaged in online learning? Do they complete and online course of study once enrolled?
Beyond enrollment and persistence, determining which factors actually promote learning – pathways, media, supports, activities, technologies, interpersonal connections (virtual or face to face) – is a more significant challenge.
The education personnel charged with reporting on the progress of students with disabilities really do not know. They don’t know because they cannot get that information, this despite the fact that the patchwork of entities holding the data sets within which that information exists are unable or unwilling to share it, or unaware that the data they hold, when combined with the data held by others, could benefit them and every other stakeholder in the education system. Read More..