Yo yo yoWord up to Dan BrownFor showing how to breakA billionaire downShameful practice?DOE, you're just like a cactusSoaking up data but ya head is all dryRead the research, yoI'm telling you whyMy boy Brian Jacob and his main man LarsWrote a paper saying you're down from MarsFor holding back kids when they're 14 years oldCheck their results, J.K., then see if you're soldNext time someone argues that rapping doesn't require talent and skill, direct them to this post. You'll handily win the argument.Seriously, the Jacob and Lefgren paper, based on analysis of Chicago's similarly structured 8th ...

Let's give it up for guest blogger Dan Brown, the author of the Bronx teacher memoir, “The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle.” You can email him at [email protected]’s a rough time to be a struggling student in New York City.Mayor Bloomberg has now pledged to end the “shameful practice of social promotion” for eighth-grade students who fail either of their two state tests or any core classes. This means nearly 17,000 more eighth-graders than last year may be retained. For his tough position on boosting standards and student ...

Irrespective of which candidate you're gunning for, who isn't happy that it's W's last State of the Union? Here's my retrospective of the Bush years via recent education posts:1) Doomed to Repeat It: Chicago is intent on resurrecting a school closing strategy that didn't work the first time, says Mike Klonsky (More Shock and Awe in Chi-Town). 2) You Get What You Pay For: Robert Pondiscio at Core Knowledge quips about haggling over the price on student incentives, while the Quick and the Ed (If You Pay Them, They Will Pass) and Ed Sector (per USA Today) pleasantly surprise ...

Now that the spring semester is in full swing, I’ve concluded that excuse writing deserves its own genre. College-level excuses are a) painfully specific and b) include details better kept to oneself.Profgrrrrl’s recent post sparked a personal mission to track down the best excuse ever given. (Hat tip: Sherman Dorn.) There are excuse generating websites (if you need to squeeze out of a wedding or work, click here), but my colleagues can beat them all. Some candidates included missing the final exam because of a heroin overdose, having “totally THE WORST cramps ever,” winning last minute tickets ...

Between Kanye West's role modeling (post here) and "I will steal your car," ED in '08 has struggled with commercials. As primary season gets into full swing, I figured they could use my pro bono help:Wouldn’t you know it? One moment we’re on the road to reform, when suddenly it gets interrupted. And when I looked at our outcomes, I was embarrassed.That’s why for guys like me with E.D., there’s E.D. in '08. E.D. in '08 is clinically proven to go to work fast and to have effects that last up ...

I hate leftovers, too. But there is a lot left to say about last week's theme of data-driven decision making, so I'll tie up loose ends this week. Forthcoming posts include: How are data currently being used in schools, and who's entered the business of providing data solutions? What are some of the technical challenges with value-added models of teacher effectiveness? And what are their potential unintended consequences?...

Facebook detective Virgil Griffith has cooked up a clever graph plotting students' favorite books against their institutions' average SAT scores. The result is a cheeky (non-causal) cultural portrait of American college students. Books at the top of the SAT food chain include Lolita, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Crime and Punishment, and Freakonomics. Books hugging the bottom include the The Color Purple, Flyy Girl, Fahrenheit 451, and books by Zane. Here's what I want to know - will Lolita get an Amazon bump from crazed parent collegeseuirs?...

Freakonomics and Marginal Revolution face off on unintended consequences - it's timely food for thought about the potential consequences of adopting value-added as the primary measure of teacher effectiveness. As I've noted before, value-added as one of many measures works for me; value-added as the master measure - which I fear it would become - does not. Why? Teaching is a multifaceted task, and value-added measures use a simplistic evaluation rubric to monitor a complex task. Alex Tabarrok sums up the potential problem here:The law of unintended consequences is what happens when a simple system tries to regulate a ...

skoolboy returns to weigh in on data-driven decision making:I’m as much a fan of data as the next guy. But I worry that proponents of data-driven decision-making are understating just how hard it is to use data thoughtfully.I’d like to describe the strategy championed by the New York City Department of Education, and point out the difficulties involved. The logic that the DOE is promoting is (a) use data to identify an area where a school is lagging, either in relation to some absolute standard or to other similar schools; (b) use the available data systems ...

Over at the Ed Sector, there's some confusion about my concern with the ethics of the NYC teacher experiment (see here). To be clear, my problem is not that NYC is collecting value-added data. As I have written before, standardized tests have a role to play in teacher assessment alongside holistic evaluation of teachers' effectiveness. But as eduwonk himself noted, the methodological issues are hairy and as of yet unresolved. The concern expressed in my earlier post was how this experiment was conducted in secret and, in my opinion, in violation of generally accepted human subjects policies. The entire enterprise ...


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