NEW ORLEANS — As her class winds down on a recent Thursday morning at Sci Academy, a charter high school in New Orleans East, Katie Bubalo hands out a short survey, called an "exit ticket," to her sophomore English students. She does this every period to see how much of the lesson students absorbed.
The second of three questions reads:
What is the main idea of this passage?
- Oedipus does not believe the seer because he is blind and untrustworthy.
- Oedipus is in disbelief about his fate and mocks the seer.
- The seer attempts to deliver bad news but realizes he cannot because Oedipus is the king.
- Oedipus listens intently to the seer, all the while realizing his disastrous fate.
Papers shuffle forward and kids walk out the door. Then Bubalo shakes hands with every student who files in for the next period, after which she distributes another survey — an "entry ticket" — administered at the beginning of a class to see whether students retained the previous day's material. Later, she'll feed the entry and exit data, along with attendance information and other performance measures, into Sci's software system.
The theory is that, over time, patterns emerge to tell teachers who is succeeding, where students fall short, how to remediate them, and what correlations might exist between performance and, say, poverty or the length of a commute. Administrators even track their former students through the first year of college to see how they can better prepare their 9th- and 10th-graders for the challenges to come. Sabermetrics suffuse Sci Academy, and every teacher is Billy Beane.