Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Evaluation or agenda? - Emporia Gazette: Opinion

Evaluation or agenda? - Emporia Gazette: Opinion:

Evaluation or agenda?

A current trend in American education is private organizations grading the quality of states’ public education using criteria based on their school-reform agendas.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) publishes its annual “Report Card on American Education.” Similarly, studentsfirst produces its annual “State Policy Report Card.” The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) publishes its annual “State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation National Summary.” In their current report cards, Kansas’ public education receives grades of C-, D- and D+, respectively.
In contrast to these organizations’ grades, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the nation’s report card, is the “largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.”
If ALEC, studentsfirst, and NCTQ have developed criteria designed to improve student learning, then states they grade highly should also have higher NAEP scores. This prediction was tested by correlating their grades with fourth grade math and reading and eighth grade math and reading NAEP scores for all students, only students eligible for free and reduced lunch (as an indicator of poverty), and only Black or only Hispanic students (as