Blog: Education by the Numbers
A fascinating blog post, “Does Poverty Cause Low Achievement?“, by Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute cautions researchers against using poverty or family income when crunching numbers to come up with education policies. He argues that poverty in and of itself doesn’t cause low achievement. And flawed educational research conclusions have been made by using poverty in data analyses.
A new data study shows that third graders who can’t read proficiently are unlikely to graduate from high school in New York City. Only 2.7% of students who failed to meet a basic third grade English Language Arts (ELA) standard went on to meet or exceed the benchmark in eighth grade. Only one in three of these students ultimately graduated from high school. That’s a stark statistic to prove that early childhood education matters. I wonder if there’s anything a high school teacher can do to make up for huge deficits in the early years.
One of the most widely used math curricula in elementary schools, Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, also known as simply “Investigations” or by its developer’s name, “TERC,” was found to underperform three other elementary school curricula. The three that performed better were Math Expressions, Saxon Math and Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Mathematics (SFAW), also known as “enVision” Math.
I was surprised to see this article by Christopher Cousins in the online version of the Bangor Daily News, “Data from schools show widespread use of restraint and seclusion, b….” Cousins reports that 800 of Maine’s 185,738 students were restrained at schools during the 2012-13 academic year in order to deal with their emotional outbursts. Often, the students have special needs.
The College Board, which administers the SAT, issued a report yesterday (September 26, 2013) bemoaning that only 43 percent of SAT takers in the 2013 graduating class were college and career ready. That means 57% are not ready. What does that mean? The College Board set an arbitrary cut off, that is a 1550 SAT score, above which students have a 65% probability of obtaining a college grade point average of a B- or above.
The New America Foundation on Sept. 24, 2013 released 2012 state and school district pre-kindergarten data, which the think tank says has never been published before. Their Funding Per Child widget allows users to see which districts in a specified state spend most and least per child on pre-K.
Dave Levin, co-founder of the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) network of charter schools, has a lot to be proud of. His schools, which focus on inner-city minority students, are now operating in 20 states and producing admirable test results and impressive numbers of college graduates.
Survey of U.S. school districts finds that more than half of elementary, middle and high schools have wifi in every classroom
The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) released preliminary findings from a national survey of nearly 450 K-12 district technology leaders from 44 states on September, 16, 2013. Of course, the survey missed about 12,000 school districts and likely, the ones that responded might be more technologically advanced than many that didn’t. But I was struck that 57% of the elementary schools, and 64% of the secondary schools report 100% of their classrooms have wireless internet connectivity.
Anyone who cares for or knows a disabled child has likely wondered how to educate that person to lead a productive adult life. Is it best to educate the child in a conventional classroom, mixing disabled with non-disabled together? Should parents be more involved in a disabled child’s education? Depending on the severity of the disability, should the child be pushed to prepare for college or be tracked into a technical career? The questions go on and on.
Aimee Rogstad Guidera founded the Data Quality Campaign in 2005 as a temporary advocacy group to get every state to set up its own longitudinal data system by 2009. Today, every state has a data system that tracks students from kindergarten onward.
(edited for length and clarity)
Q: Why didn’t you go out of business after you accomplished your original mission?
A new Institute of Education Sciences study conducted by Mathematica found that middle and high school math teachers from Teach For America and the TNTP Teaching Fellows programs were as effective as, and in some cases more effective than, other math teachers in the same schools. It’s a note-worthy finding because TFA teachers are often criticized for not having enough teaching experience.
Bill Roberts writes in The Idaho Statesman on September 13, 2013 that teachers throughout the state of Idaho are unable to make good use of a much heralded Schoolnet data system because test score data arrive months too late and because some of the data is riddled with errors.
One teacher reported that she “never got test scores from April’s Idaho Standards Achievement Test last May as she expected. She didn’t see the scores on Schoolnet until fall – too late to examine them for lessons for that new school year.”
I was away on vacation and asked our newest Hechinger Report writer, Aisha Asif, to fill in. She interviewed RAND’s Laura Hamilton, who argues that states should wait a couple years before judging teachers’ performance based on the new common core test scores. But Hamilton acknowledges that few states will be able to do that. I also found it interesting that Hamilton rejects the conventional wisdom that it can be more accurate to average several years of student test scores when evaluating teachers. – Jill Barshay
When I first happened upon the Institute of Education Sciences’s “What Works Clearinghouse,” I wrote a little piece back in early June 2013 about the Saxon Math curriculum. But I didn’t realize how ground breaking this research was. In fact, I worried that my post was a bit PR-ish for the Saxon Math program.
Sam Boonin is the vice president of products at Zendesk, a software company that collects online inquiries from customers and turns them into support tickets. Zendesk’s software is used by more than 30,000 companies and institutions, from Sony and Adobe to Twitter and Groupon. And so Boonin decided to sift through the customer satisfaction surveys to see which industries are doing the best job in solving customer problems.
Karen Gross, President of Southern Vermont College, has an interesting piece on vtdigger.org on why it’s not a good idea to judge a university or college by its graduation rate and the prospective earnings of its graduates.
The National Center for education statistics reports that only 6 percent of undergraduates earn money through work-study programs. Yet 71 percent receive some sort of financial aid, such as grants or loans.