Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ohio Governor wants to talk about wacky ideas

Governor Strickland wants put everything on the table for education reform. One of his points was:
"What if we created a value-added system that measured results and compensated teachers for improving student achievement?"
Well...he's more than half way there. The state now provides value-added analysis and will have access to classroom-level data. Four of the state's largest districts are recipients of federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant funds.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Colorado's State Growth Model Goes Live

Colorado's growth model is official now. A number of outlets have picked up the press released (linked to above in the title) and discussed how this new analytical information can inform policy making in the state.

Colorado Charter Schools Blog has a post and links to a page with all of the charter schools in the state. Papers in the state begin to discuss how to read the diagrams and how parents might use the results (The Examiner, The Daily Sentinel, The Reporter Herald).

This level of visibility and dialog is a welcome addition to the national discussion of the appropriate usage of growth model data.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Data Quality Campaign 2007 Survey on Longitudinal Systems

One of the most important contributions of the Data Quality Campaign has been to gather solutions and examples of policy making from state agencies across the 50 states. In particular, the work done in Florida to update its already impressive PK-Workforce system to take advantage new technologies and more flexible thinking about appropriate data use provides a broad backdrop for possible innovations across the country.


Friday, July 11, 2008

NSBA's Blog summarizes how parents feel about testing

BoardBuzz posting a link to an Associated Press Poll about issues in educational problems and possible solutions. One of the interesting findings is the gap between fairly solid support for tests as instruments of school accountability but a belief that classroom work better represented student learning.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Collaborative provide V-A Training Support in Ohio

The Ohio Resource Center is an interesting collaborative that combines scholars from the different schools of education in in Ohio and is supported by the legislature and Ohio Board of Regents. The "about" page describes the Center as follows:
ORC's resources are available primarily via the web and are coordinated with other state and regional efforts to improve student achievement and teacher effectiveness in preK–12 mathematics, science, and reading. The website is organized around Ohio's academic content standards.
What I find interesting, as a V-A guy, is that the Center has also developed a three module set of lessons on understanding value-added outcome metrics. It builds up knowledge about assessments and their uses, in general, and then goes on to describe how one should use V-A metrics.

A big thumbs up for the ORC!


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Science Cannot Be Secret

This blog post does a great job laying out some of the core concerns about complexity and proprietary information in accountability systems. Our mantra has been "simple is better, unless it's wrong". In the VA work we do, we might prefer a simpler model that has "strong" assumptions. However, we think it is important to develop model enhancements that deal with cases in which the assumptions cannot be met. We look at the results of both models to see what difference violating the assumption makes. I very much agree with the author of this blog that this is a policy decision and that the educational agency (state, local, etc.) must be engaged with the model design and be able to understand and explain any and all modeling choices.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Value-Added doesn't get any more real than this

This is the face of classroom value-added on the ground. The Ohio Department of Education and Battelle for Kids (who provides training for the interpretation of VA scores) have used classroom level scores to identify teachers who produce large gains in student test scores.