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September 14, 2008

Let the Spin Begin

Suppose that your fourth-grader takes a state test that shows that she understands the associative property of multiplication, can multiply two-digit numbers by two-digit numbers, and can find the perimeter of a polygon by adding up the length of the sides. A year later, as a fifth-grader, she t...

September 12, 2008

Cool People You Should Know: Doug Downey

To many observers of public education, there is no doubt about which schools are failing - it's the schools with low rates of students passing state tests, stupid!Of course, this assumes that students' achievement is a direct measure of school quality. "Yet we know that this assumption is wrong....I...

September 09, 2008

Lessons for No Child Left Behind from "No Cardiac Surgery Patient Left Behind"

New AYP numbers are out, folks. In California, only 48% of schools made AYP, and only 34% of middle schools did so. In Missouri, only about 40% of schools made AYP. Pick almost any state, and you'll see that there are soaring numbers of schools designated as "in need of improvement." With numbers li...

September 07, 2008

Predicting the Near Future*

Sometime soon, with great fanfare, the New York City Department of Education will release this year’s School Progress Reports. (Word on the street is that schools already know their grades.) The School Progress Reports, for better or worse, are the centerpiece of the NYC accountability system....

August 27, 2008

Guest Blogger Bruce Fuller: The Benefits and Dilemmas of Centralized Accountability

Bruce Fuller, sociologist and professsor of education and public policy at the University of California - Berkeley, has co-edited a new book, Strong States, Weak Schools: The Benefits and Dilemmas of Centralized Accountability. Below, he provides a Q&A on the book’s findings. Q. Media reports...

August 21, 2008

Cool People You Should Know: David Figlio

Economist David Figlio, who has extensively studied the intended and unintended consequences of accountability systems, recently made a move from the University of Florida over to Northwestern. Figlio has a knack for the creative - but still substantive - paper: for example, see his papers on the u...

August 15, 2008

Join a Chat about Testing and Accountability in the NCLB Era: Tuesday, August 19th, 3-4pm

On Tuesday, David Figlio - an economist who does great work on the intended and unintended consequences of accountability systems - and I will chat with Ed Week readers about testing and accountability. The event description is below, and you can submit questions here:Raising student achievement has...

July 16, 2008

The Vision Vacuum

"You're too young to be this cynical, " he said, staring across his desk at me with a perplexed half smile.I was 10, and in the middle of our classroom's simulated presidential campaign in which we followed the election and voted for candidates, my 5th grade teacher had launched into a pep talk abou...

July 02, 2008

Educational Testing: A Brief Glossary

While you’re waiting for Dan Koretz’ book on testing to arrive – I think eduwonkette and I should get some kind of consideration for shilling for this book so often here – here’s a brief skoolboy’s-eye view on testing. Actual psychometricians are welcome to correct what I have to say. ...

July 01, 2008

An Immodest Proposal

This year’s statewide fourth-grade math exam administered in New York State -- the one with the remarkably high gains -- contained the following item: “Janice bought a notebook for $3.75 and a pencil for $0.47. She gave the cashier $5.00. How much money did Janice receive in change?” Th...

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