You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.
Some colleges and universities are now collecting sophisticated data about a student’s past performance and using it for what is called “predictive analysis” which has the potential to stigmatize students and sort them into categories of success or failure.
While this is only happening in a few colleges and universities, my guess is that it’s a matter of time before we see such a program used in the K-12 setting.
Predictive analysis includes past data collected on the student that they might not even know about! It combines all this information together into a report.
The claim is that such information assists in pinpointing problems and steering students in the right direction—to determine if they can do well in college. The catch is that this will only happen if adults with a good background and preparation in understanding this information are there to assist students.
Without the personal human element, such information will only unfairly sort and stigmatize individuals. Students will be labeled failures by a digital program devised by those outside of the child’s life who don’t know the student!
Most teachers like to give new students a clean slate when they enter the classroom. Even if a student has had behavioral or learning difficulties in the past, we still like to believe in positive change, or that a child’s circumstances will improve. Ideally, school professionals working closely with the student hope to impact such positive transformation.
It is also not unusual for students to have slumps in their learning due to temporary problems. Once the problems are behind them, they pick up steam and do perfectly fine in school. Other times, students will benefit from ongoing personal counseling and/or a nurturing classroom that assists them with their struggles. Quite often this will involve students from disadvantaged homes.
But today, school districts are run amuck with data! Testing and behavior information are continuously collected on students. Parents complain about invasive demographic information obtained through troubling surveys given to students without parental permission.
With so much information amassed on students, predictive digital program use in the future is concerning. Also, when digital devices replace qualified teachers and counselors who have studied and understand academic and emotional and behavioral difficulties, how will students solve their problems? Will mistakes be unforgivable? What will all this data mining mean for students as they get older?
If a student experiences an off year because their parents are divorcing, if they struggle with learning disabilities that they later learn to overcome or adapt to, will their future still be in jeopardy? If they act out or get in trouble, but turn their behavior around, will they still be denied a chance at college due to difficulties in the past?
Will the new predictive analysis that micromanages and tracks a child’s every move through data collection turn into the crystal ball of doom?