The idea that we should “fire bad teachers” has become the mantra of the day, as though anyone was seriously arguing that bad teachers should be kept. No one is. Instead, the real issue is, and has always been, identification.
Those of us who follow the literature about value-added models (VAM) – the statistical models designed to isolate the unique effect of teachers on their students’ test scores – hear a lot about their imprecision. But anyone listening to the public discourse on these methods, or, more frighteningly, making decisions on how to use them, might be completely unaware of the magnitude of that error. Read More »
** Also posted here on Valerie Strauss’ Answer Sheet in the Washington Post.
Two weeks ago, researchers from Mathematica dropped a bomb on the education policy community. It didn’t go off.
The report (prepared for the Institute for Education Sciences, a division of the USDOE) includes students in 36 charter schools throughout 15 states. The central conclusion: the vast majority of charter students does no better or worse than their regular public counterparts in math and reading scores (or on most of the other 35 outcomes examined). On the other hand, charter parents and students are more satisfied with their schools, and charters are more effective boosting scores of lower-income students. Read More »