November 2007 Archives

Dear Diane, It's fun occasionally to be reminded of why we were considered by so many to be "in opposition." When you took pleasure in the NY Times editorial promoting tests (this time national), I was reminded of our disagreements! Allowing a national definition of success to rest on so many unaligned tests is patently absurd. You would "align" them, I would eliminate them! My quarrel with NCLB is with its power to define success, and then with its use of tests to do so. A more "sensible" NCLB, with a single consistent test, would make it more, not less ...


Dear Deborah, I note with pleasure that The New York Times endorsed (again) the principle of national testing. My guess is that the latest NAEP results for New York City prompted them to do so. As you know, New York City has been trumpeting its "historic gains" in test scores without let-up over the past few years, since Mayor Bloomberg gained control of the school system and persuaded the Legislature to turn it into the Department of Education. As part of what may be a nascent Bloomberg-for-President campaign, the Department's very large public relations staff works hard to persuade the ...


Dear Diane, The intellectual and informational inaccuracy, sloppiness and thoughtlessness of so much of education reporting still shocks me—I know I ought to have gotten over it. The story you told me about the reporter who bought NYC's claims that the latest NAEP results are a sign of the DOE's success is such a perfect example. Investigative reporting is a lost art. They too often see themselves as conduits for press releases, with perhaps one quote from someone "on the other side" to show that it's impartial. It's their style even when I'm delighted with it! E.g.: I loved...


Dear Deborah, It was interesting that you used the analogy to Consumer Reports to discuss the value of grading schools. As a longtime subscriber to CR, I understand that it is useful to have a disinterested voice evaluating the products in the marketplace. To make sure that there is never a conflict of interest, CR does not accept advertising; no one can ever say that their judgments were tainted by commercial interests. The CR example shows, I think, the problems with assigning a letter grade (only one letter grade, not a report card) to each school. To begin with, schools ...


Dear Diane, Amen. We agree, although it will be interesting to see where this takes us—re. alternatives. (For next week?) Bard College President Leon Botstein's outraged voice last week helped me sort out the issues raised by NYC's new school grading system. (Disclosure: my granddaughter is a very happy student at Bard's public high school.) He's right that it is a unique school engaged in a unique project. He is wrong that this makes him different than most other schools—each of which is also "unique". He claims the Regents exams are not good measures of their work. He's...


Dear Deb, I must add two points to my blog about the letter grades handed out to New York City public schools last week. As I said in my original post, the formula was complex but heavily dependent on how students did on the state tests. Eighty-five percent of the letter grade (and remember that each school was given only a single letter grade, not a report card with a variety of grades) was based on these test scores, a combination of "performance" and "progress." Some very reputable, high-performing schools got a low mark because the proportion of students who ...


Deborah, You mentioned the new grading system. Our readers may not be aware of what is happening, so let me recapitulate the system as best I can. "Best I can," to be sure, because it is not a transparent system and its calculations are extremely obscure. At bottom, it amounts to this: Each school in the city school district (but not charters) is given a letter grade from A through F. The letter grade is based mainly on the state's standardized test scores. The grade is comprised of both performance (the school's scores) and progress (the school's value-added). Added in ...


Dear Diane, We've been e-mailing back and forth during this past week—so you already know how shocked I was, even though I might have imagined I was above and beyond shockable. Some months ago I wrote about my own fears—about potential retaliation against the schools I was most identified with—that might follow my outspoken critiques of their bosses. I am not paranoid enough—perhaps unwisely—to presume that all the bad "luck" that has befallen my beloved NYC schools is due to deliberate sabotage. But it doesn't keep me from worrying when the other shoe will ...


Dear Deb, What a week this has been! I received a phone call late last Monday afternoon (Oct. 29) from an editor at the New York Post, offering me a “heads up.” He said, “Just wanted to let you know that there will be a personal attack on you in tomorrow’s paper, on the opinion page.” That was a bit unsettling, to say the least. A few hours later, I received an email from a journalist friend that contained the actual article, with the byline of Kathryn Wylde, the CEO of the New York City Partnership, the organization that ...


Dear Diane, You're right! There is data and then there are various ways to interpret it. The NAEP data is data. But given that the average reader—such as me—doesn't know a lot about how the scores were derived, making sense of it requires interpretation. For example: (1) what kind of questions are on the tests? (2) how great are the differences in right/wrong answers that separate the benchmarks? and above all (3) how valid are the categories proficient, advanced? Some of this requires statistical sophistication, some just more information than is readily available. Most of the time...


Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments

  • hertfordshire security installers: Greetings. Great content. Have you got an rss I could read more
  • http://blog.outsystems.com/aboutagility/2009/04/challenges-of-scoping-and-sizing-agile-projects.html: I would like to thank you for the efforts you've read more
  • http://acousticwood.net/mash/2008/03/yeah_off_to_the_uk.html: Between me and my husband we've owned more MP3 players read more
  • buy cheap metin2 yang: When you play the game, you really think you equipment read more
  • Nev: Anne Clark - If a Dr. instructs a patient that read more