Data and Pedagogy

What’s the ultimate goal of pedagogy? Test scores? Money? Affluence? Perhaps there is no goal. Perhaps pedagogy merely helps students realize a passion, whatever that passion is.

How can we use data to realize pedagogical goals?


I would say an intermediary if not ultimate goal of pedagogy is to pull individuals and communities out of poverty. For most students working earnestly within the system, test scores are crucial to culmination/career/money/affluence, aka upward mobility.

Another goal of pedagogy is to ensure humanity’s customs, traditions, and knowledge live and grow – through standards-based instruction and the fertilization of critical thinking.

Data tools can help to differentiate instruction & intervention and improve student & community outcomes. They can also help ensure that students are mastering key standards which society has deemed essential. Standards interpretation, instruction, effectiveness, etc. vary wildly from community to community and educator to educator and student to student. Data tools can help to if not normalize our standards, to identify outliers, trends worth addressing, individual areas for growth, or perhaps the cure for cancer or even help someone discover their passion. I would say that data tools, like pedagogy, should serve to bring more information to more people such that individuals can make better decisions.

As such, the ultimate goal of pedagogy may be perfect rationality.

What is the ultimate goal of humanity? Whatever that is, education is presumably essential to it and Battle School should strive towards that. Students realizing and practicing their passions seems crucial to that, lest we are designing dystopia.

The question is: What does a utopia look like and is that something we should strive for or want?


The utility of data tools in rational arts (ie- science, math) is real. Data tools can help judge success where there are clear true / false answers. How can data go beyond its binary origins? How can data further an eduction in the liberal arts (music, painting, poetry..)? Perhaps data’s utility and the utility of literature are one in the same. Both data and literature expose us to different perspectives of the reality we think we know so well, pushing us to a more critical awareness about our self and our certainties. In other words, data opens our minds. The best data, like the best pedagogy,  helps us go beyond what we know, inspiring us to learn something new.

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