TCR Misses the Mark on Quantitative Data & DQC


I don’t normally “blog in the negative,” but Take a Number, Stand in Line, Better Yet, Be a Number Get Tracked: The Assault of Longitudinal Data Systems on Teaching and Learning (Teachers College Record, Date Published: March 08, 2013,, ID Number: 17051, Date Accessed: 3/21/2013) exemplifies a dangerous attitude of which educators & data providers should be aware. The article was brought to my attention by a post by Jeffrey C. Wayman, one of the world’s true heroes in data use research (I flew to Austin to meet him last year because I so admire his research & its role in helping with the kinds of topics tackled by OTCD).


In the TRC article, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) & varied aspects of quantitative data (such as the assignment of unique identifiers to students, one of a data system’s basic needs) get slammed despite a wealth of research supporting the benefits of quantitative data & the benefits of the types of recommendations DQC advocates. The authors’ implication that using quantitative data means automatically ignoring the value of qualitative data was one of the article’s many inaccuracies.

I get scared when critics jump on the extreme-opposite side of matters (e.g., so anti-quantitative data). While careless use of quantitative data can be dangerous (i.e., a pro-data extreme), so is the opposite side of the spectrum (i.e., this article’s dismiss-quantitative-data extreme). So much more is achieved when varied opinions recognize the value of others (e.g., the value of DQC) & work together for a common good.


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