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Friday, February 10, 2012

Airports and Middle School

Two announcements this week highlight smart uses of data.
The federal government announced that it would pilot at certain airports the use of passengers' background information to determine which ones must go through the ultra-security line. I think that means that those of us without even a speeding ticket muddying up our records will soon be able to board planes without the hassle of removing shoes, belts, jewelry, jackets, etc. Even laptops get to stay in their own bags. Woo hoo!
And then today, according to a story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Little Rock School District announced plans to use Benchmark test score data to determine which students need to spend more time on task in math and/or literacy. Recently, double-blocking in those subjects has been the norm for students. Under the new plan (which must be approved by the district's teachers as part of a new school schedule for next year) those whose test scores show a mastery of the subjects will get to single block and use the extra time enroll in more elective courses, such as arts and languages.
Dr. Daniel Whitehorn (one of LRSD's best) was quoted as saying, "Some of our students don't need that over-focus we have sometimes on math and literacy." Yet, those who do will continue to receive it -- a great example of differing levels of support to meet the same high expectations.
All from the smart use of data.

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