Liked Why the NAPLAN results delay is a storm in a teacup by Jim Tognolini (The Conversation)

The real issue underpinning the controversy is the misuse of NAPLAN data. It was never intended that NAPLAN data would be used for fine-grained comparison of students.

The MySchool website has contributed to the misuse of NAPLAN data. For example, the scores from the site are being used to make comparisons irrespective of the “error bands” that need to be taken into account when making comparisons. People are ascribing a level of precision to the results that was never intended when the tests were developed. The test was never designed to be high-stakes and the results should not be used as such.

When people challenge the “validity” of the NAPLAN test, they should be challenging the validity of the use of the results. NAPLAN has a high degree of validity, but we need to understand it better and use the results in a more judicious and defensible manner. The correct use of NAPLAN data is a major issue and it needs to be addressed as a matter of priority.

Bookmarked The Information on School Websites Is Not as Safe as You Think by E.K. Moore (
Some tracking scripts may be harmless. But others are designed to recognize I.P. addresses and embed cookies that collect information prized by advertisers.
E.K. Moore discusses the presence of trackers on school websites. One of the interesting points was the impact of YouTube on all this:

Google’s DoubleClick ad trackers, for instance, are commonly found on school pages that host YouTube videos, like the Community Website Introduction video on a school site in Massapequa, on New York’s Long Island. The trackers tee up videos containing advertising on the school page, once its own video finishes playing.

I have reflected upon this topic elsewhere.

Replied to Celebrating the things we don’t measure by Gillian Light (a macgirl in a pc world)
  • how much more my students now speak in weekly literature circle discussions and how well prepared they are for what they want to say;
  • how engrossed they are in reading and how invested they are in the characters they identify with;
  • the quality of their questioning and the deep thinking they do about what they read, identifying themes, ideas and wonderings that hadn’t occurred to me;
  • their heightened understanding of how certain text types can be very powerful and really get things done, as seen through the number of them wanting to write to different levels of government after our parliamentary excursion;
  • their confidence in managing their own learning and identifying their own goals, inside and outside of the classroom;
  • their growing time and resource management skills that now see some of them much more able to find the key items they need at the start of the day and end the day feeling organised;
  • the coping strategies they have developed to deal with their own times of stress or anxiety and which they now avail themselves of without any need for a reminder from me;
  • the empathy they have developed towards not only each other but towards fellow human beings in the world beyond our classroom, as evident in the ideas they have about how they can improve their world for everyone’s benefit.
I remember a few years ago, when the new review process came in, I made every effort to stretch what the notion of data. Most teachers just fell into line with the simplicity of one years growth for one years teaching. Although ‘growth’ is important, to only focus on the summative feels like it misses something.
Replied to Data transfer as a ‘hedge’? by Doug Belshaw (Thought Shrapnel)
This is an interesting development: Today, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter joined to announce a new standards initiative called the Data Transfer Project, designed as a new way to move dat…
Doug I read this situation differently. In part, GDPR has brought this on, but it will also happen naturally whether the silos like it or not. People will build their own pipes and parsers. It feels inevitable. I think that in working together they are then able to control how this happens.

I am probably wrong. Time will tell.

Bookmarked 'Data is a fingerprint': why you aren't as anonymous as you think online by Olivia Solon (the Guardian)
More recently, Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, a computational privacy researcher, showed how the vast majority of the population can be identified from the behavioural patterns revealed by location data from mobile phones. By analysing a mobile phone database of the approximate locations (based on the nearest cell tower) of 1.5 million people over 15 months (with no other identifying information) it was possible to uniquely identify 95% of the people with just four data points of places and times. About 50% could be identified from just two points.
Olivia Solon demonstrates some of the problems that we face with privacy. This touches on some of the challenges that Michael Golumbia addresses in his post on personal data. Both authors come to the same conclusion, we are expecting too much of the consumer.

via Ian O’Byrne

Bookmarked 18 best practices for working with data in Google Sheets - Ben Collins (Ben Collins)
This article describes 18 best practices for working with data in Google Sheets, including examples and screenshots to illustrate each concept in action.
Ben Collins provides a guide for working with data in Google Sheets. Some of the useful steps that stood out were documenting the steps you takeadding an index column for sorting and referencing, creating named ranges for your datasets and telling the story of one row to check the data. Another tip I picked up from Jay Atwood has been to import data, if moving from Excel to Sheets, rather than simply copying and pasting.
Bookmarked We Don’t Know What ‘Personal Data’ Means - uncomputing (uncomputing)
It’s Not Just What We Tell Them. It’s What They Infer. Many of us seem to think that “personal data” is a straightforward concept.  In discussions about Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, GDPR, and the rest of the data-drenched world we live in now, we proceed from the assumption that personal data means something like “data about myself that I provide to a
David Golumbia provides a list of six types of personal data: provided, observed, derived, inferred, anonymised and aggregate. In unpacking the work of Virginia Eubank and Cathy O’Neil, he warns about what we share only when we do not really know who is collecting such information.

Yes, we should be very concerned about putting direct personal data out onto social media. Obviously, putting “Democrat” or even “#Resist” in your public Twitter profile tells anyone who asks what party we are in. We should be asking hard questions about whether it is wise to allow even that minimal kind of declaration in public and whether it is wise to allow it to be stored in any form, and by whom. But perhaps even more seriously, and much less obviously, we need to be asking who is allowed to process and store information like that, regardless of where they got it from, even if they did not get it directly from us. source

Golumbia says that governments need to get on top of issues associated with data, because the public is struggling.

Replied to Analytical moves by Ian Guest (Marginal Notes)
Although these details are not attempting to satisfy the more positivist-leaning criterion of enabling replicability, they should nevertheless make it clear that I conducted a ‘rigorous’ study. Is there enough here to convince you of that? If not, what else would you like to see?
Once we trade in reproducibility I imagine that all we have is a case of ‘good-enough’ analysis? The problem I have is that if we were to approach this question from Fish’s interpretive communities then being convinced is not the challenge? If I am a positivist, will I ever be satisfied?
Bookmarked Unfollowing Everybody by Anil Dash (Anil Dash)
Keeping in mind that spirit of doing necessary maintenance, I recently did something I'd thought about doing for years: I unfollowed everyone on Twitter.
Anil Dash discusses the steps he took to unfollow everyone on Twitter and start again. There are some interesting ideas in this piece, such as archiving a list of people you are following. Might be one to come back to.