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March 07, 2012

When Value-Added Scores Don't Make Sense ...

In a July 2011 blog post, I pointed out that the D.C. public school system was using test scores from 100 schools still under investigation for cheating to calculate value-added scores that would eventually be incorporated into teacher evaluations. So some D.C. teachers were at risk of having studen...

March 06, 2012

Ohio to Retest Teachers in Struggling Schools

Still more from the ever-active teacher-accountability front: Under a provision in Ohio's new state budget law, thousands of teachers in the state's lowest-performing schools will have to take licensure tests anew this fall, according the Dayton Daily News. The requirement—apparently the fir...

February 22, 2012

Questioning the 'Rigor' of Teacher Evaluations

Aaron Pallas, Professor of Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, makes the argument on his blog that, within current discourse about teacher evaluation, the word rigor "is getting distorted almost beyond recognition." In science, he writes, rigor is determined by a study...

February 01, 2012

A Teacher's Test Problems

Having just finished scoring a batch of state English exams, NYC teacher Mrs. Eyre expresses sympathy for an ELL student who wrote one of the required essays in her native language: This student was clearly not ready for the challenge of writing an entire essay in English. [That] was someone's dec...

December 13, 2011

Gum-Chewing to the Test

A new study reports that college students who chewed gum prior to taking a test exhibited improved memory function and performed better than their non-gum-chewing counterparts. The theory behind this, according to one of the study's authors, is that the chewing motion improves blood flow to the brai...

October 11, 2011

South Korea Cracks Down on Late-Night Tutoring

Well, here's one educational problem we probably don't have to worry about in the U.S.: Were you aware that the South Korean government is now conducting late-nights raids to enforce a new curfew on after-hours tutoring operations? The raids, Amanda Ripley reports in a fascinating article for Time...

September 30, 2011

Taking a Philosophical View of Standardized Tests

On the New York Times' Opinionator blog, a Notre Dame philosophy professor warns against the inclination to take "immediate and drastic" corrective action based on subpar student standardized test scores. Tests, he suggests, are not always a good gauge of students' applicable knowledge in a particul...

September 29, 2011

The Tao of Finland's Schools

This month's Smithsonian magazine includes an interesting article exploring the (relatively recent) success of Finland's school system. The author highlights a certain Zen-like quality in the way Finnish schools operate: Teachers in Finland spend fewer hours at school each day and spend les...

September 19, 2011

Has Reading Instruction Lost the 'Gist'?

In the New York Times, literary critic and Core Knowledge Foundation founder E.D. Hirsch reasserts his case that the recent drop in SAT reading scores derives not from student demographic changes but from a long-term de-intellectualization of elementary school curricula: The most credible analyses...

September 15, 2011

What's Behind the SAT Reading-Score Drop?

Washington Post education blogger Valerie Strauss takes issue with the College Board's explanation that the decline in the SAT reading scores this past year was caused largely by an increase in the number and diversity of test-takers. She puts the blame squarely on the effects of recent education po...

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