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December 20, 2010
Every individual test score is associated with standard error of measurement (SEM). The error is an acknowledgement that the test score is only an estimate of student true ability. We can never know a student’s true score, but we can define an interval that is likely to contain the true score. Just as individual scores are associated with measurement error, so are individual growth or change scores.
December 6, 2010
The Boston Globe columnist and retired teacher Junia Yearwood questions the notion that schools and teachers are solely responsible for the performance of public school students. Yearwood argues that unless we as a society take collective responsibility for closing achievement gaps, large-scale educational improvement is unlikely. She cites the small Caribbean nation of Barbados, where 98% of adults are literate despite rampant poverty – a result, Yearwood notes, of the importance of being educated that is ingrained in their values. Good points – teacher bashing and revolving doors of school policies, leaders, and curriculum are never going to make widespread change. A commitment to creating a nationwide environment where all students are set up for success and maximum learning will require the involvement of all of us.
November 30, 2010
The New York Times has an optimistic story this morning about how the U.S. School Graduation Rate Is Rising. It’s good to celebrate when things are going in the right direction. Particularly in education where we tend to spend most of our time whining about what’s wrong instead of showing what’s going right and replicating it.
You can probably here the “but” coming. Let me number mine:
November 15, 2010
The headlines are buzzing with juicy topics that are crying out for blogs posts, and then of course there are the crazy blog posts about these juicy articles, and those crazy blog posts are also crying out to be blogged about. But I stand firm in the face of temptation. Today’s blog is about a project I’m working on that is worlds removed from the headlines. On the surface at least.
November 8, 2010
The Kingsbury Center is soliciting proposals for the fall 2010 Data Award program, which is designed to help graduate students and researchers without project funding use NWEA’s Growth Research Database (GRD) in their research. The GRD is currently being used by scholars at universities across the nation to conduct educational research. The purpose of this program is to make this exceptional resource more widely available. Applications are due December 1, 2010; please click here to learn more.
An informational webinar about this award is scheduled for Wednesday November 10, 2010 at 10 am PST. The webinar will include an overview of the data that are available and an opportunity to ask questions. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for registration information.
November 4, 2010
Public Impact, with support from the Joyce Foundation, has recently issued a report that synthesizes performance measurement best practices from private, nonprofit, and government sectors, and advises educators on how to apply them. A nice summary of how to build a foundation for a strong performance measurement system for any field. Click here to read the report.
October 28, 2010
Last week, Chester Finn and Michael Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute published a report, entitled “Now What?” that synthesizes input from interviews with over 20 education leaders on how common core standards should be maintained in the future. Three possible models are outlined in the report. Yesterday, Michael Petrilli discussed that report in an interview conducted by Michael Shaughnessy for EducationNews.org. The interview can be found here, and the full report is available here.
October 26, 2010
Tomorrow, Education Sector will release a new report Putting Data into Practice: Lessons from New York City. In the midst of relentless policy discussions about using data for accountability and evaluation, this report promises a refreshing focus on how data can be used to improve instruction and help kids learn. You might also check out this great round up of several years of Ed Sector’s data-related posts.
October 19, 2010
I’m not much for hype. When the movie The Titanic was all the rage, I had a button that said “The ship sank. Get over it.” So when the documentary Waiting for Superman starting getting such hype, I was less than excited. Sure I would go see it, but I fully expected it to be melodramatic, over-hyped, one-sided fluff that made no difference in the grand scheme of things.
October 18, 2010
Please welcome our guest blogger Robert Theaker! Robert has served as Director of Data Analysis at Central Michigan University’s Center for Charter Schools, where he led the development of a performance data center. Prior to that, Robert served as the Senior Manager of Assessment and Measurement for National Heritage Academies where he was responsible for all student data reporting and analysis for schools in multiple states. Robert Theaker is currently working at NWEA as a consultant.
When I was a young teacher I was often asked, “Why did you choose to be a teacher?” Looking beyond the obvious (I mean, isn’t teaching the most wonderful and rewarding profession one could pursue?), I responded, as any idealistic education school graduate would, “I want to help each child reach his or her potential.” Well now, as I reflect on the optimism of my youth, this ideal has blossomed into a conviction. It is a very real and very practical concept to have the ability to help children reach their full academic potential.