Thursday, June 19, 2008

Colorado Growth Model Introduced

Colorado has been working for some time on a state-wide growth model. In early March, the state issued a press release and made a number of documents available on their web site.
  • Technical Report on a Colorado’s Academic Growth Model (pdf)
  • Presentation to district assessment directors (pdf)
  • Changes to the accreditation process presentation (ppt)
The Technical Report includes both the authorizing legislation and a technical paper by external consultant Damian Betenbenner. Betebenner and his colleagues at the Center for Assessment in Dover, NH are generally on the simpler is better side of student performance modeling recommendations.

I am not an economist, although I do play on on TV. However, I know from personal experience that we've been repeatedly put in the position of evaluating simple systems and the unintended consequences that flow from such models. As hard as one imagines it might be to do growth modeling well, it's probably 2 orders of magnitude harder than one imagines. In particular, what looks good to an outsider looks very different to a teacher or principal whose job performance or bonus is going to be based on that analysis. Educators suddenly discover a preference for complex models when the simpler models turn out to be unfair to some large portion of the adults in a system.


No comments: