Grading the Digital School: Inflating the Software Report Card
By TRIP GABRIEL and MATT RICHTEL; Published: October 8, 2011
The Web site of Carnegie Learning, a company started by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University that sells classroom software, trumpets this promise: “Revolutionary Math Curricula. Revolutionary Results.”
T. Lynne Pixley for The New York Times
In Augusta, Ga., the school district has expanded the use of Cognitive Tutor math software to all of its high school students.
Grading the Digital School Unfulfilled Promises
Articles in this series will look at the intersection of education, technology and business as schools embrace digital learning.
Grading the Digital School: In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores (September 4, 2011)
The pitch has sounded seductive to thousands of schools across the country for more than a decade. But a review by the United States Department of Education last year would suggest a much less alluring come-on: Undistinguished math curricula. Unproven results.
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Many companies ignore well-regarded independent studies that test their products’ effectiveness. Carnegie’s Web site, for example, makes no mention of the 2010 review, by the Education Department’s What Works Clearinghouse, which analyzed 24 studies of Cognitive Tutor’s effectiveness but found that only four of those met high research standards. Some firms misrepresent research by cherry-picking results and promote surveys or limited case studies that lack the scientific rigor required by the clearinghouse and other authorities.
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Carnegie, one of the most respected of the educational software firms, is hardly alone in overpromising or misleading.
[Funny, a company is among the most respected, yet it can overpromise or mislead --Ed.]
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And Intel, in a Web document urging schools to buy computers for every student, acknowledges that “there are no longitudinal, randomized trials linking eLearning to positive learning outcomes.”
Follow the rest of the article at the Times' main site.