The Flaw Behind Today’s Outcomes-Based Data In Higher Education
In the years leading up to his death, my mentor Clay Christensen battled many ailments. He wondered often about when things were all said and done, as a deeply religious, man, how would he be viewed when he had his final interview with God?
He reached a conclusion that, regardless of one’s religious leanings, has significant implications for how we shape outcomes-based data in higher education—and a need to figure out how to capture individual learners’ desires for progress in those metrics.
Before sharing that conclusion, it helps to have some background on Clay’s broader views about data.
Clay was always suspect of data. First, he was fond of pointing out that data are created by humans. Data aren’t some objective things that magically exist in the world. Humans must create categories, observe phenomena, and make decisions about what the “data” are. There’s subjectivity in data, no matter how we might wish otherwise, as data are based on constructs that humans have created at one point or another.