To my lovely readers,Here's a more effective way to procrastinate - subscribe to the RSS feed on the right or enter your email to have posts sent directly to your inbox.Why bother? I wasn't sold on blog subscriptions until I took the Google Reader plunge last week. Yes, I'm the last to know - but it rules. Check it out....

I teach at a college that periodically commissions external reviews of the institution and its academic programs. Sometimes these external institutional reviews are "high stakes," such as regional accreditation reviews (e.g., North Central Association, Middle States, etc.) or professional accreditation reviews (such as the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education). Out of the corner of my eye, I've been seeing an increase in the reliance of large urban school districts, such as New York City and Washington, DC, on external reviews (sometimes labeled "quality reviews.") I'm intrigued by the similarities and differences I'm observing.Most external reviews ...

I had to excerpt this passionate comment on teacher performance pay. Rather than asking what its implications are for student achievement, this reader focused on what it means for teachers' personal and professional identities. This is an angle I'd never considered before - thank you, anonymous reader. You can read the full comment here. Look at places where teachers have been lured into these plans with money. The experiment always begins with apprehension, a sort of reluctance. The policy wonks explain that this fear is because the teachers have been brainwashed by the unions and don’t understand the science ...

One of the most stable findings in the management literature is that measuring a narrow subset of organizational goals results in employees ignoring non-measured tasks that are no less critical to the overall mission of the organization. When lawyers are rewarded for billable hours, they focus on increasing hours rather than quality. When case workers are measured by the number of job placements, they push job seekers into positions that are poorly suited for them. Management wonks call this "goal distortion" (see Richard Rothstein here; see also Timely Tidbits on Unintended Consequences). The take home point is that the facile ...

Happy Superbowl, everyone. Here's what we've got on tap for this week:Monday: Social studies, science, and NCLBTuesday: skoolboy reviews external "Quality Reviews," Part IWednesday: Data-Driven Decision Making: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - Guest blogger Scott McLeod and I will talk about how schools are currently using data.Thursday: skoolboy reviews external Quality Reviews, Part IIFriday: The Bu$iness of D3M: Data Warehouses and Data Tools...

1) Elizabeth Green drops the H-Bomb: Now NYC's private schools get grades, too, based on the number of kids going to Harvard and the schools' assets (here and here). Had we rated schools by the number of Starbucks in the neighborhood, what would the grades look like?2) Poetic Justice: Joanne Jacobs recites Econometric Verse. Over at Campaign K-12, Michele McNeil argues that the single most important thing the next Prez can do for schools has nothing to do with education. And at the AFT blog, Ed wants you to dispense some blog-ilante justice by solving his riddle.3) xoxo: ...

Last week's teacher effects brouhaha brings me back to where this blog started - not eduwonk channeling Britney, but rather how to measure teacher effectiveness. We know a lot more about estimating teacher effects on student test scores than we did 10 years ago. (Readers know well that I am as concerned with academic and social outcomes of education that are not measured by test scores, but that is for another post.) Nonetheless, big picture questions linger, and Mary Lou Retton-worthy technical gymnastics won't make teachers feel comfortable with value-added until these questions are answered. Here's what I'd like to ...

Though the Two Americas campaign is kaput, let’s talk about a new Maxwell School poll on Americans’ attitudes towards inequality. (Juju to Andrew Leigh for the link.) What continues to surprise me is how, despite a rising tide of inequality, a high proportion of Americans still believe that everyone has a fair shot.Here are the key findings from the September 2007 survey: Though 67.4% of Americans think that we’re becoming a society of haves and have nots and only 33.4% believe that everyone in America has an opportunity to succeed, less than half (45.7%) ...

1) Prelude to a Post: A few weeks back, Robert Pondiscio, eduwonk, Charlie Barone, and I went at it about the impact of NCLB/accountability systems on curriculum and instruction. Now, Ms. Frizzle explains how NYC's Progress Report system is affecting her school (A Fairy Tale), and the Tempered Radical contemplates the costs of cutting out higher order thinking skills to up his scores (Tricks or Trash?). Stay tuned for my very tardy follow-up on this debate.2) When Bad Clothes Happen to Good People: I noticed, too. Fashionista A-Rus talks wardrobe (Spellings, Jessica Alba, and the Polar Bear from ...

What's worse: evaluating college quality using standardized tests (Madame Secretary's pet project), or relying on Rate My Professors? At Rate My Professors, students rate their professors on "educational" qualities like their hotness, their easiness, their helpfulness, and their clarity. (Here's a nice Village Voice article about RMP; hat tip: Mike Arnzen). Now MTV has kicked off a spoof called "Professors Strike Back," in which profs respond to comments ranging from "I want to be her slave" to "Eats children for breakfast."A mocking blog called Rate Your Students has emerged in response - you can read about some unbeloved students ...


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