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The Perilous Conflation Of Student And School Performance


The political stakes are too high to use standardized tests in a moderate and reasonable way. Politics demand that they be used in the service of ideology.

Good point. The problem is even more acute in high schools, where in many cases tests at a single grade are the sole measure of a school's performance. If the grade is 10th, these scores will say a lot more about the experiences of kids before they entered the school than what happened to them while they were there. Some states have attempted in the waiver applications submitted last November to develop broader measures of school performance, particularly for high schools. But these proposals are getting some resistance from critics who claim that they will dilute the focus on the student achievement. What are poor, well-meaning policy makers to do?

"This well-established finding is sometimes interpreted to mean that schools (or teachers) can only exert minimal influence on student performance. That is false. Not only are schooling factors among the only targets within the purview of education policy, they can also be very influential. Improvements in the quality of schooling/instruction can have substantial effects on student outcomes" The part about the purview of ed policy has nothing to do with the power or usefulness of those policies. And, if you're going to say that schooling factors can be very influential, you should tell us how and to what extent, especially since you say that "most of the variation in testing outcomes is “between students” – i.e., has to do with factors, most unmeasured/unobserved, that are attributes of the students themselves and their upbringing and environment." which seems to belie your claim up there.

Education Reform: Teacher's are being held to higher standards of accountability in the classroom for student learning. What is a proper method for involving parents? How can parents share in the accountability for their child's learning while in school? Be sure to like Battlegrounds: America's War in Education and Finance and stay current about our educational system. Thanks for your support!!

Question: Sanders claims that all outside variables can be accounted for by controlling for previous academic growth. Is this true? and if it is wouldn't it then provide an accurate picture of student growth and school quality?

John Doe, no. I would venture to say that anytime anyone says anything about statistics and uses the phrase "all outside variables" doesn't understand statistics or reality.


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