Helen Ladd, an economist at Duke, has turned in an exceptional commentary about rethinking the ways we hold schools accountable. Ladd has spent a decade studying the effects of North Carolina's accountability system. Here's an excerpt:The bottom line is clear: Test-based accountability has not generated the significant gains in student achievement that proponents — however they perceived the problem to be solved—intended. Nor is the country on track to meet either the high proficiency standards required under the No Child Left Behind law or the equity goals suggested by its name.As a reform strategy, test-based accountability falls short ...

In many ways, data-driven decision making (D3M) in education is an old idea packaged as a new one. As far back as anyone can remember, teachers have given their students regular quizzes, projects, and tests. When students performed poorly, "data-driven" teachers retaught the material or tried to figure out what went wrong. Without the benefit of spreadsheets or data displays, teachers have attempted to tailor their instruction to different groups of students. To be sure, there have been assumptions, blindspots, and kids overlooked, but the fundamental idea of teaching, assessing, figuring out what works for whom, and re-teaching is as ...

Tomorrow's Carnival of Education will be hosted at The Median Sib. Til then, check out some of these posts: 1) Bloomberg Betting and Bingo: Read NYC Educator's thoughts on a Bloomberg run, Dave Bellel's post on predicting Bloomberg's probability of running via Candidate Bingo, and a new blog called "Respite From Mike." If you're not electioned out by then, check out this interview with Ed in '08's Roy Romer. 2) Steven Covey for Principals: A Shrewdness of Apes provides life lessons for principals . 3) Laugh Out Loud: BellRingers, which I discovered last week and really like, has two funny posts ...

The NY Times reported yesterday on an ongoing experiment on teacher effectiveness in NYC schools. Principals in the treatment group (140 schools) receive extensive value-added information on each teacher, and then are asked to evaluate the teachers. Principals in the control group do not receive these reports but also provide evaluations of their teachers. As far as I can tell, the goal is to determine how principals' evaluations are affected by having access to value-added data. By the summer, the NYC DOE will decide how these data will be used, and Deputy Chancellor Chris Cerf has even suggested releasing individual ...

Tune in to the Brian Lehrer Show, which is hosting its annual MLK Tribute....

Walk into any school's faculty meeting, and you'll think you've stumbled into a tongue twister competition. The push for data-driven decision making, DDDM, D3M - whatever you prefer to call it - is everywhere. This week I'll explore what data-driven decision making can and can't do for education and share some of the research on how data are currently used in schools. Got something to share about how data are used in your school? Email me at eduwonkette (at) gmail (dot) com. In the meantime, you can check out some resources on DDDM over at Scott McLeod's site (the writer ...

Let me pile on to the eduwonk-Barone-Pondiscio debate. I'm no fan of the "NCLB: The Silent Killer" melodrama that blames the No Child Left Behind Act for all of our schools' problems, and there's obviously plenty of it to go around. This is what Charlie Barone and eduwonk reacted to yesterday when they pointed to a NYT article about college prep to argue that NCLB is not forcing schools to become drill and kill test-prep factories. (See eduwonk's post here.) Robert Pondiscio responded at Core Knowledge by providing an insider's view of currriculum narrowing and test prep. He concluded, "Dismiss ...

New York City posted the nomination narratives from its "Thank a Teacher" awards program. Here's the first one, about a physics teacher named Sidney Harris: Mr. Harris’s expertise was in physics but what he taught me went far beyond science. He pushed me. He shaped the way I thought about my future. And he set expectations for me that were, before then, unimaginable. What was his value-added on this kid's Physics Regents? We'll never know, but Mr. Harris' former student Joel Klein says: "I really believe I am chancellor today in no small measure because of Sidney Harris." Read ...

Spoiler alert: I'm going to write about data-driven decision making next week, so who better to profile than Kathryn Boudett, who teaches at the Harvard Grad School of Ed and is a co-author of the book Data Wise: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Assessment Results to Improve Teaching and Learning. Note that the book is about improving teaching and learning, not just test scores! And that's why I like it. Here is a little snippet about the book, which I will say more about next week, and the syllabus for her course....

Test your skills with this word problem: A comprehensive high school in New York City has an enrollment of 900 9th graders. The NYC Department of Education decides to close the school and replace it with 5 new small schools, each of which will enroll 108 9th graders. How many 9th graders are left over? Extra credit, Part I: Imagine that the NYC Dept of Ed closes 2 comprehensive schools in one year with enrollments identical to those above. Now how many 9th graders are left over? Extra credit, Part II: Where will the displaced kids go to school? If ...


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