Thanks so much for visiting me here on my newly revised website. Along with an altogether new look, the changes allow me to more readily offer you timely, informative articles, websites to visit, and even quotes to use in your teaching. There’s also, of course, my free, monthly The School-Wise Newsletter, keeping readers up-to-date on all that’s happening in education.

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Brian A. Jacob’s Take on Student Test Scores

22/08/2016   |   No Comments »

The study, “Student Test Scores: How the Sausage Is Made and Why You Should Care,” was written by Brian A. Jacob, a University of Michigan professor and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. What he figured out is definitely worth noting in this day and age of school reform,  data collecting, and accountability and where teacher effectiveness is based on the standardized test scores of students:

“Contrary to popular belief, modern cognitive assessments–including the new Common Core tests–produce test scores based on sophisticated statistical models rather than the simple percent of items a student answers correctly. While there are good reasons for this, it means that reported test scores depend on many decisions made by test designers, some of which have important implications for education policy.

For example, all else equal, the shorter the length of the test, the greater the fraction of students placed in the top and bottom proficiency categories–an important metric for state accountability. On the other hand, some tests report ‘shrunken’ measures of student ability, which pull particularly high- and low-scoring students closer to the average, leading one to understate the proportion of students in top and bottom proficiency categories.  Shrunken test scores will also understate important policy metrics, such as the black-which achievement gap–if black children score lower on average than white children, then scores of black students will be adjusted up while the opposite it true for white students.

The scaling of test scores is equally important. Despite common perceptions, a 5-point gain at the bottom of the test score distribution may not mean the same thing in terms of addition knowledge as a 5-point gain at the top of the distribution. This fact has important implications for the value-added based comparisons of teacher effectiveness, as well as accountability rankings of schools.

There are no easy solutions to these issues. Instead, there must be greater transparency of the test creation process, and more robust discussion about the inherent trade-offs about the creation of test scores, and more robust discussion about how different types of test scores are used for policy-making as well as research.”

Reasons for the Current Teacher Shortage

20/08/2016   |   No Comments »

Reasons for the Current Teacher Shortage By Carol Josel  |   Submitted On August 19, 2016

America has a teacher shortage problem, and there’s plenty of blame to go around, especially since the Obama administration took over and the federal government doubled-down on its education policies. Just think how things stand right now with such glaring issues as tight budgets, relentless standardized testing, performance-based teacher evaluations, hastily designed and implemented Common Core Standards, exploding poverty numbers, turn-around school mandates, charter school growth, and tenure in the short hairs, right there along with teachers’ pay.

Even current Secretary of Education John B. King waxed somewhat apologetically by suggesting that, “Despite the best of intentions, teachers and principals have felt attacked and unfairly blamed for challenges our nation faces as we strive to improve outcomes for all students.”

Indeed…

Stockton University’s dean of education put it more bluntly by contending that it’s the result of “terribly horrible, negative rhetoric we’re hearing from public officials.”

Similarly, Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, recently declared that, along with everything else that’s going against them, “Teachers have also been subjected to demonization.”

The result: A MetLife survey finds that teacher satisfaction is at its lowest level in 25 years, which comes as no surprise to Dulce-Marie Flecha who is quitting after five years in the classroom.

When asked why, she said, “I’m trying to think of a good summarizing reason, but, honestly, there are more reasons to leave than there are to stay in education right now. At a certain Read the rest of this entry »