Arne and Michelle vs. Larry: The Statistical Battle

By Robert Plants
Editor, Schools for the 21st Century

I opened my newspaper this morning to an article titled “ACT Scores Dropping but More Students Are Prepared for College.” I asked myself how is this possible when other reports say that schools and teachers are not preparing students for future learning.

But I’m getting off my topic, which is the research-based finding that “more than 90% of the variation in student gain scores is due to the variation in student-level factors that are not under the control of the teacher.”

Another interesting note from those who have evaluated value-added methods and particularly the one used in LA is that there is opportunity for as much as 26% error in teacher ratings. If you want to put it another way, 26% is a large labeling error to make regarding someone’s chosen vocation. It sort of opens one to litigation in my mind.

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What Should Pres. Obama Do About Educational Reform?

Bonnie BraceyBy Bonnie Bracey Sutton
Editor, Policy Issues

[Updated 8.2.10 – links added: “A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act”; “In the News: More Opposition to Duncan’s Reform Policies: Defending Obama’s Education Agenda”; “Our Communities Left Behind: An Analysis of the Administration’s School Turnaround Policies.” -bbs/js]

The problem that President Obama is having should be addressed. I think he is between a rock and a hard place in his efforts to change the face of education. What do you, our ETCJ readers, writers, and editors, think he should do?

To post your comment, click on the title of this article and scroll down to the comment box. To start the discussion, here are a few documents that you might want to read:

Valerie Strauss, “Obama, Education, Snooki, Civil Rights and Bryan Bass” (The Answer Sheet, Washington Post, 30 July 2010): The president’s “terribly misguided $4.35 billion competitive grant program is, apparently, more important than health care reform, the economic recovery program, improving the student loan program, increasing Pell Grant payouts, and, well, anything else he has accomplished since becoming president.” Continue reading