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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 email@example.com 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.
October 12, 2010
Parents have begun pressing their kindergartners and first graders to leave the picture book behind and move on to more text-heavy chapter books. Publishers cite pressures from parents who are mindful of increasingly rigorous standardized testing in schools. […] “I see children pick up picture books, and then the parents say, ‘You can do better than this, you can do more than this.’ It’s a terrible pressure parents are feeling — that somehow, I shouldn’t let my child have this picture book because she won’t get into Harvard.”
Now this is a shame.
October 7, 2010
This week the Washington Post posted an article about a $34.8 million Gates Foundation initiative to raise the completion rates in community colleges.
First of all, hooray for more efforts to invest in education. And thank you to Gates for including the much-overlooked sector of community colleges. Furthermore, measuring the success of a program speaks directly to my desire to be smart about how we spend money so we can do the best for students. There is a lot of good in this article and this program, but there’s also a downside.
October 6, 2010
My previous blog advocated that disclaimers for any fancy statistical models should be noted and considered in decision or policy making. But, the more I think about merit pay, the less I believe it is about how to best use a model.
September 22, 2010
There was a great op-ed in the New York Times this week by a professor at Williams College about why standardized tests aren’t the evil villain everyone has made them out to be.
“By shifting our assessment techniques, we would learn more of what we really need to know about how children, teachers and schools are doing. And testing could be returned to its rightful place as one tool among many for improving schools, rather than serving as a weapon that degrades the experience for teachers and students alike.” Professor Engel makes a lot of good points, and I want to add to her information by telling my readers about something I’ve learned about the testing system for K12 students.