Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Views on Introduction of Growth Models in Education

The U.S. Department of Ed explains the history of the recent announcement (November 18, 2005) of a 10 state "experiment" on combining growth indicators with NCLB attainment goals. The NEA explains the move stating that the DoEd is "[f]inally responding to repeated calls by NEA and others for a more reasonable approach to measuring school progress."

A number of groups lined up to give voice to their support and concerns. A common thread from supporters was the sentiment expressed by the NEA above. The disregard for growth makes some fundamental ethical and methodological mistakes. On the other hand, supporters of high expectations for all kids (here the Citizen's Commission for Civil Rights) worries that the consistently high bar, schools with high percentages of underprivileged kids will get let off too easy. The Education Trust voiced similar concerns.

Both Jenny D. (and her response to EduWonk's concerns) and EduWonk have done a good job laying out the issues associated with implementing growth models and NCLB with numerous links to primary material.

For that matter, it's not just the US that is struggling with this issue. The UK has recently introduced value added reporting in order to provide more context for interpreting average school attainment. The Telegraph reports that this is an about face for the government. Education Ministry officials had previously stated that schools educating significant proportions of disadvantaged students should be held to the same high standards - not provided with an excuse for lack of progress. The Campaign for Real Education expresses many of the same concerns as the critics in the US (cited above). Jim Taylor of Lancaster University weighs in in favor of value added reporting, but with some caveats.


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