Thursday, January 14, 2010

Accountability gone wrong

Tonight, my school's basketball team absolutely lambasted the opposition - who happened to be another school from our district. The score was like 70 to 20.

While I was reffing this gong show, I couldn't help but think to myself - who was going to hold this team accountable for playing so poorly? The data (the score) clearly shows a significant achievement gap between my school's basketball skills and the other team's.

Should the volunteer parents be reprimanded for their lack of results? or maybe they should be incentivized by introducing a form of merit pay? Should the players be held accountable by altering their playing time?

Guess what. None of this will happen.

Nor should it.

My school district prescribes to the Middle School Philosophy and so when it comes to athletics we believe in some very cool things like:

  • fair and equal playing time for all participants
  • coaches and administrators are to minimize awards
  • we do not maintain league standings or statistics
To use the score as data to hold teams accountable for their performance would run so entirely in the face of our founding principles that to even entertain the idea would be assinine.
And yet, if this basketball game had been a math exam, the scores would be used to compare kids to each other, and the data used to hold teachers accountable for their teaching and the students' learning.
So why are we so relaxed and understanding when it comes to sports and yet we are so bloody uptight and data driven when it comes to academics?

1 comment:

  1. An interesting post. I live in basketball crazy town. Don't get me wrong sports have value. I'd argue if some families spent as much time and money encouraging their child's academic progress as they do with their commitment to athletic camps and super all star travel teams the achievement gap might take care of itself.


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