Did Race To The Top Work?
Before We Begin
So let's check a couple of our pre-reading biases before we walk through this door. I've already shown you one of mine-- my belief that Big Standardized Test scores are not a useful, effective or accurate measure of student achievement or school effectiveness, so this is all much ado about not so much nothing as the wrong thing.
We should also note the players involved. The USED, through its subsidiary group, the Institute of Educational Sciences, is setting out to answer a highly loaded question: "Did we just waste almost a decade and a giant mountain of taxpayer money on a program that we created and backed, or were we right all along?" The department has set out to answer a question, and they have a huge stake in the answer.
So that's why they used independent research groups to help, right? Wellll..... Mathematica has been around for years, and works in many fields researching policy and programs; they have been a go-to group for reformsters with policies to peddle. AIR sounds like a policy research group, but in fact CURMUDGUCATION: Did Race To The Top Work?: