Monday, November 27, 2017

Campbell's Law (on why data can't always be trusted)

Campbell's Law, a statement created by the notable social scientist
Donald T. Campbell:

"The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social
decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures,
and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social
processes it is intended to monitor."

This is humble pie for a data enthusiast : We need to remember that
data is just another tool in our diverse toolbox and not some deity to
be worshipped.

Source article:
...In her three and a half year tenure, Rhee also fired roughly 1,000
educators, because many of them faired poorly in the IMPACT teacher
evaluation system. There is a massive body of evidence that
demonstrates that these value-added measures are inaccurate and
misleading. One commentator wrote that "the odds of this system are
more akin to flipping a coin." It's time to acknowledge that test
scores are not a correct indicator in determining quality teachers.

>> I had a similar experience in Teach for India (back in 2011-12; no idea if they may have changed focus now, so don't judge!) : there was so much attention on assessment scores that I witnessed widespread manipulation by fellows to get ahead; many such people got highlighted as success stories (and also got hired as managers later!) while the really solid good quality teachers got ignored.

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