Measure What Matters
Someone has said that what you measure is what becomes important.
You start to focus only on what you have clear and ready numbers on.
Are you focusing on what is most important or just what is easiest to count?
When working with children we need to focus on—and measure—only what is important.
Most people are good at counting "numbers": number of days absent, number of disciplinary actions, number of students in the class, number passing state test requirements, and on and on.
But what is most important? Is attendance more important than learning? Why was the student gone? Why did the student act out and be disciplined? Why is one student motivated to learn and another seems not to be? Schools always know attendance, but they do not know always know what is going on in the lives of their students.
Since we focus on what we measure, sometimes we focus more on getting people into desks than preparing them to go out into the world. And, yes, sometimes just increasing attendance is the first hurdle to jump. But you need a good understanding of the causes of the problem before you can address a solution or, later, begin to evaluate the effectiveness of that solution.
Schools need accurate ways to measure a wide assortment of important indicators.
Some questions need good measures of knowledge and action. Getting other answers needs good measures of attitudes. For instance, it is easy to try to measure attitudes. It is not easy to measure them well. Poorly measured attitudes have little or no relationship to behavior.
Measure a person's emotional state well and you can know where they are on the road to becoming a valuable member of society.
Measure their growth poorly and you will still know little about them--though you may mistakenly think you do.
There are good ways to ask questions and poor ways to ask them.
You would not diagnose your own cancer—you'd go to a specialist.
If sued in court, you would not make your own case, you would use a trained lawyer.
So why use "do-it-yourself" methods to research the needs, beliefs, actions, and effectiveness of your teaching and programs?
Use a specialist with training and experience.
Thus our motto: "Measure What Matters". Together we can carefully decide what is important and find quality ways to accurately measure that. Then we can work on what to do to do good better.