Saturday, September 30, 2006

Testing to go nation-wide?

The debate on national standards is alive and well.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Research Report at Pearson (PDF) discusses growth models

This paper - buried on the Pearson research pages - provides some useful definitions of terms and lays out some of the difficulties one encounters when developing growth models.


Monday, September 25, 2006

A look at California's API and its use as an accountability measure

California's API (Academic Performance Index) is criticized as inadequate for evaluating school progress or for judging the ability of schools to meet the needs of different sub-groups. The use of a complex indicator also makes interpretation difficult.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Return on Investment and Reform

The Doyle Report takes an interesting look at our amazing inability to actually consider data when we think about school reform. There is probably ample evidence to support a hypothesis that year round schooling would be far better for achieving desired educational outcomes. In general, it would be interesting to actually with some level of confidence that education reform effort A actually adds more value to student learning than effort B.


Monday, September 11, 2006

On the road to the UK and France

Posting is likely to be a bit spotty. I am off to give a couple of talks at the Strategies in Qualitative Research conference at the Durham University, UK on the maturity of qualitative research tools. I'm going to repeat that talk a few days later in Lyon as well as give a presentation to several teams within ICAR - CLAPI and others - on the scholarly history and current capabilities of an open source, video transcription and analysis tools we developed here at WCER - Transana. I'll be back in the states in two weeks.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

An interesting back to school series from the Pittsburgh Gazette

The piece on the fifth focuses on the impact of NCLB from narrowing of curriculum to holding schools accountable for achievement gaps. The follow on pieces look at other major trends in urban education.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Another sotory about how AYP woes play out in South Bend Indiana

Here's another good piece to look at how AYP failures and successes play out in an Indiana town. There are many schools that area failing to meet expectations. There is going to be increasing pressure for change. The question remains is the change going to happen in the educational system or will members of the U.S. Congress find that they cannot stand the heat and back off on accountability.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

11 Districts begin using value-added results in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is using SAS to do value-added analysis of its test scores. 11 districts are already using the data as early adopter. Sanders does a nice job providing a non-technical description of value-added metrics. The state also provides some info on cost - $2.00/year/student - when all 501 districts are on board. Unlike a couple of other states, value-added assessments will be used diagnostically to track student progress but not to evaluate teacher performance. This piece gets to a lot of important issues, including growth of students who are already at high attainment. Take a look.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Examining the incentives for and against reducing high school dropout rates

The Brownsville herald does a good job examing the incentives confronting teachers and schools around dropouts. Districts want dropout rates to decline to avoid systemic sanctions aimed at districts for high ratios. Individual teachers, on the other hand, may actually have incentives to counsel students out of attending, since the pressure on teachers is to get classroom, grade level, and school scores on state tests to increase. Students who are very far behind would require much more help than students who are near proficiency. The incentive is to neglect the students at the lowest levels.

The article goes on to study the economic impact of dropouts on the economy of the region. The fact that dropouts earn far less than do graduates means that they pay less in payroll taxes, are likely to consume lots of social and/or welfare services, and increase the likelihood that the individual will engage in criminal activity.