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July 20, 2011

How to Fix Accountability in U.S. Schools

The Atlanta cheating scandal has sparked a national debate about the wisdom of accountability based on high-stakes testing. As I argued in my last post, I don't think tests themselves are the problem; it's our accountability structures that need to be rethought. Here's my take on what we should do t...

July 06, 2011

Floor Standards vs. Ceilings

@eduleadership When critics think about the merit of public schools, they're often thinking simultaneously about performance at both ends of the spectrum. On the bottom end, we want to make sure that Johnny can read. We have a variety of assessments that give us data about our progress toward this ...

June 20, 2011

ROI on Indirect Educational Investments

@eduleadership Now that states are actually having to carry out the promises they made to compete for RttT funding, we're seeing major spending on evaluation systems and other non-educational activities designed to contribute indirectly to better educational performance. The Bill & Melinda Gates F...

May 30, 2011

The "90/90/90 Schools" Myth

@eduleadership One of the most widely cited studies on closing the achievement gap is Doug Reeves' "90/90/90 Schools" research, which asserted more than a decade ago (as reported in his book Accountability in Action) that schools can and routinely do get all or nearly all students to meet standard,...

May 30, 2011

Breaking the Orthodoxy About the Achievement Gap

@eduleadership In a timely essay on Valerie Strauss' WaPo Answer Sheet blog, Bellevue (WA) teacher Charles Duerr wonders what good it will do to include student achievement in his evaluation: By year's end I will have entered 8,892 data points into my district's data collection systems—Gra...

April 12, 2011

You Can't Always Get What You Want

@eduleadership The project triangle, often posted in offices, sends a clear message to people who want it all: Pick two. In other words, you can't always get what you want—not all of it, at least. I'm reading a chapter from a rather strange 1977 book entitled The Politics of Expertise, whi...

March 25, 2011

You Get What You Pay For

@eduleadership The New York Yankees have won the World Series 27 times, more than any other team. The most promising strategy for an underperforming team, of course, is to identify the techniques used by the Yankees and implement them with fidelity. I've decided to become a baseball policy wonk. ...

March 22, 2011

Incentives & Performance: How It's All Supposed to Work

@eduleadership Despite the complete lack of evidence that they work, pay-for-performance schemes seem to be as popular as ever. Why does anyone think such plans will improve student learning? I came across a decent explanation recently. In their 2007 article "What to Do? The Effects of Discrepanc...

March 04, 2011

The Increasingly Strange Logic of Bill Gates

@eduleadership In an op-ed earlier this week Washington Post, Bill Gates offers a breathtaking series of assertions about how to improve the performance of our education system. Gates is putting his money where is mouth is, primarily through the MET (Measures of Effective Teaching) study, but his ...

February 21, 2011

Monitoring: Avoiding Curricular Chaos without Creating a Police State

@eduleadership Last in a series of posts about curriculum pacing guides Over the course of my past few posts on curriculum pacing guides, the issue of monitoring has come up several times. If we want all students to have equal access to rigorous, high-quality curriculum, it follows that some degre...

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