Here’s a little predictive analytics:
About a year ago, I took a swipe at the “$80 million supercomputer to analyze NYC student achievement.” It smelled more like a super sales job than a super useful analytical tool.
At the time I had said:
Teachers are underpaid, hardly appreciated, and overworked. I can only wonder what the half-life is of a system that asks teachers to log on to get information delivered by the “chief accountability officer.”
Well, it appears that things haven’t gone that smoothly with the supercomputer. Today, I received a link from Leonie Haimson, a NYC education advocate, to a story entitled SCHOOLS COMPUTER AN $80M ‘DISASTER’.
Not only has the supercomputer struggled to gain much traction with users (“The school system’s new $80 million computer super system to track student performance has been a super debacle, teachers and principals say”), it has coincided with severe budget cuts.
- Delivery delays: Nearly six months after the Department of Education unveiled the “first of its kind” data-management system, the city’s 80,000 teachers have yet to log on because of glitches and delays.
- Bad user experience: Many principals have complained that it runs slowly, lacks vital information, and is often too frustrating to use.
- Complicated training and set-up: School officials were hoping to have everyone hooked up and trained within months… delays in creating IDs and passwords for teachers
- Trying to do too much, delivering too little: The principal added that she preferred to get student information from a combination of old data systems “rather than wait for ARIS to churn and churn and churn and maybe give me half the report I need.”
- Massive cost: Complaints about the expensive system—on which nearly $35 million has been spent so far—have gotten louder since the city unceremoniously chopped $100 million from individual school budgets last month.
- And yet, few success anecdotes to justify the investment: ARIS had already enabled her data team to analyze the performance trends of the school’s many English-language learners.
It does offer one thing that I haven’t seen before: a Chief Accountability Officer.