Read the article above and it really got me thinking.
First a couple of quotes from the article.
“If you only measure the statistics, you miss the human aspect.”
“We prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test,” said Pasi Sahlberg, a former math and physics teacher who is now in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture. “We are not much interested in PISA. It’s not what we are about.”
Finnish educators have a hard time understanding the United States’ fascination with standardized tests. “Americans like all these bars and graphs and colored charts,” Louhivuori teased, as he rummaged through his closet looking for past years’ results. “Looks like we did better than average two years ago,” he said after he found the reports. “It’s nonsense. We know much more about the children than these tests can tell us.”
I think that the article brings up a few very valid points.
Education is not something that can be KPI-ed. In fact KPI’s can be gamed to meet the targets but not meet the desired results.
A study from a while ago(I forgot exactly where) on the problems of KPI kind of proves this point. Employees at a call center were given a certain KPI, where they had to pick up certain number of calls a day, which was higher than the average at the point in time. So what happened was, the employees started to drop calls intentionally, while feigning connection issues, in order to bump up the number of calls they made each day. As a result customer support became sucky. Customers on average took 3 calls to get their things solved. But management was happy, they are now picking up more calls each day.
There are alot of other examples where KPI’s end up screwing things up especially in stuff that are human. And education IS about humans. It is about imparting knowledge and the art of doing stuff to the next generation. And when you KPI it, people start mugging. People start memorizing stuff without understanding it. And while they will meet the KPI, they will NOT learn anything.
Let’s hope things get changed, before the art is really lost.