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June 09, 2015

End-of-Year Report: Grading My Kids' Schools

School's out, and that means it's time again for report cards. In the spirit of the season, I have decided to issue a report card of my own. I want to share the wealth and make sure the schools that my kids attend have a taste of that accountability too.

June 01, 2015

Quiz Time! Are You Ready for Kindergarten?

Think you have what it takes to send a kid to kindergarten? You may want to check your medical records and family vacation logs first.

March 11, 2015

What Does the Research Say About Value-Added Models and Teacher Evaluation?

My last post of VAMs raised some questions about the credibility of the information I cited—and whether it was enough to support the conclusions I drew. So here's some research for everyone to consider, and a point to think about too: even if the research did confirm the effectiveness of VAMs, they would still be bad policy. Period.

March 07, 2015

Does the Teacher Matter or Not?

It's taken as an article of faith among proponents of value-added teaching evaluation that teachers are the single most important variable determining student success in school. But what if the statisticians inadvertently used their own research to undermine the central premise of their argument?

March 02, 2015

The Declining Value of Value-Added Models, and Why They Persist Anyway

Not content to leave a bad idea alone, policymakers now seem intent on applying value-added methods as a means of assessing teacher effectiveness. To just about anyone who has ever actually spent a significant amount of time teaching, this is a terrible idea. But the policy machine marches on anyway—how come?

February 24, 2015

Homework, Oh Homework...

What do you get when you put unreasonable expectations on teachers and parents to make sure kids do things that adults they've never met really, really think they ought to do? You get homework. Even in first grade.

February 08, 2015

Are We Ready to Have a Real Conversation About K-12 Grading?

Looking at all the ways my kids are being graded has me thinking: is there anything we can do about it? We could start by slowing down to think about the nature of intelligence, what graded assessment tells us about it, and what it would take to think about it differently.

February 03, 2015

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Look at Another Report Card: Here Comes One From Pre-K

Just when you thought you'd seen it all: along comes a report card for a four-year-old. And it's probably even more ridiculous than you thought it would be.

January 28, 2015

The Incredible True Story of the 1st Grader With 40 Grades on His Report Card

It was report card day today for our first grader. I'm still trying to figure out how he's doing.

January 23, 2015

Like I Said: When It Comes to NCLB, Be Careful What You Wish For

Remember a while back when I suggested that maybe efforts to scrap No Child Left Behind might not actually accomplish the goals we really want them to if we think about the larger items on the agenda? Well, it's time to start evaluating what we're up against.

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