Sahlberg and Hasak: Big Data Didn’t Work: It’s Time for Small Data

Diane Ravitch's blog

Pasi Sahlberg and Jonathan Hasak wrote a post about the failure of Big Data to introduce effective reforms into education. Big Data are the kind of massive globs of information that cannot be analyzed by one or several people; they require a computer to seek the meaning in the numbers. Big Data are supposed to change everything, and indeed they have proved useful in many areas of modern life in understanding large patterns of activity. Traffic patterns, disease outbreaks, criminal behavior, and so on. But those who try to understand children and teaching and learning through Big Data have failed to produce useful insights. They have produced correlations but not revealed causation. In reading their article, I am reminded of the sense of frustration I felt when I was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). In the early years…

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