Saturday, November 5, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: Did Race To The Top Work?

CURMUDGUCATION: Did Race To The Top Work?:

Did Race To The Top Work?

Not only is this a real question, but the Department of Education, hand in hand with Mathematica Policy Research and American Institutes for Research, just released a 267-page answer of sorts. Race to the Top: Implementation and Relationship to Student Outcomes is a monstrous creature, and while this is usually the part where I say I've read it so you don't have to, I must confess that I've only kind of skimmed it. But what better way to spend a Saturday morning than reviewing this spirited inquiry into whether or not a multi-million-dollar government program was successful in hitting the wrong target (aka getting higher scores on a narrow, poorly-designed standardized reading and math tests).

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?:



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