Accountability Frankenstein

Irregular verbs in federal law rewrite debates

At one level, the most recent debate over federal elementary and secondary education policy is about annual testing: will the next rewrite of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act continue to require that states test public school children annually in grades 3-8? The draft bill released by Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) suggested he was considering two possible policies: a […]

Can sampling save high-stakes testing?

Over the weekend, the Washington Post‘s Valerie Strauss described one Colorado school district’s proposal to test a sample of children for accountability purposes. Proposals something like this float up occasionally: let’s not test all children in all subjects but a sample. Sometimes the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) sampling plan is used as a […]

Confusion about the cognitive utility of test-prep

Late one Wednesday night in late July, I became entangled in an interesting Twitter thread about testing. It began with Jennifer Borgioli’s tweet: If the test is worthy of students, then how can teaching to the test be bad? Darn sure 16 year olds want teaching to the driver's test. — Jennifer Borgioli (@DataDiva) July […]

On Ravitch, Reign of Error

Bottom line: Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error captures the bulk of concerns that critics voice about the current wave of American school reform. The primary audience includes teachers, and others who hold views similar to Ravitch’s. It also is useful as a quick reference guide to the arguments by reform critics, as most of the […]

Four (or maybe five) ideas for how President Obama really could reform college financial aid

Addendum: My ideas in this blog post are now a Major Motion Picture column over at Inside Higher Ed. My observable corner of the blogiverse has been active and very sharp since the president’s speech at SUNY Buffalo and the White House dreams of reforming college financial aid. Various people I read have noted the […]