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ERIC Number: EJ1160622
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Nov
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1477-8785
On Meeting Students Where They Are: Teacher Judgment and the Use of Data in Higher Education
Schouten, Gina
Theory and Research in Education, v15 n3 p321-338 Nov 2017
It is treated as a truism that teaching well requires "meeting students where they are". Data enable us to know better where that is. Data can improve instructional practice by informing predictions about which pedagogies will be most successful for which students, and it can improve advising practice by informing predictions about which students are likely to thrive on which pathways moving forward. But moral hazards lurk, and these have been highlighted especially in response to the burgeoning use of new data mining technologies to produce "big data". This article explores the ethics of data use in higher education. I consider the ethics of aggregate data as a tool for meeting students where they are, comparing it to an ongoing debate about the use of statistics in the legal context. The comparison generates two important insights: First, even the most viable moral concerns about using statistical information in the educational context are not deal-breakers: Those concerns should lead us to exercise careful judgment in the use of statistical information but do not justify eschewing that information altogether. Second, surprisingly, those viable moral concerns show big data to have a moral "advantage" over traditional little data, suggesting that some of the resistance to the use of big data in education is either unfounded or at least needs to be balanced against the moral advantages big data offer.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A