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Numbers Don’t Speak for Themselves: Interpreting and Critiquing Data from a Social Justice Lens
Description: As educators we are provided with a significant amount of data. In the current pandemic, we are provided with daily statistics by which we need to make critical decisions. A common adage is “numbers speak for themselves”; yet very rarely do numbers tell the entire story. Critical decisions are made based on a few numeric digits. Schools consistently are asked to provide data; few of us have been given the tools to make sense of the data or critique how these numbers were calculated, who they include, and the parameters by which they can be responsibly used. For instance, when we provide graduation rates or performance metrics, what are the assumptions we use to interpret this data and how might these assumptions overlook marginalized and minoritized students and schools? Through the use of examples, this session will provide participants with some simple tools and questions they can use when critiquing and understanding data from a social justice and equity lens. We will investigate commonly used metrics such as graduation and attendance rates, access to scholarships and opportunities, and performance metrics.

Bio: Dr. Ann Gansemer-Topf is an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs at Iowa State University. She is a Faculty Fellow for Assessment and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Iowa State University (ISU). She has led a variety of assessment efforts in her previous administrative positions at ISU and Grinnell College. Her research interests focus on student success and effective teaching pedagogy. Her work has been published in Teachers College Record, Research in Higher Education. Research and Practice in Assessment and Journal of College Student Development.

Oct 22, 2020 03:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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