Monday, December 19, 2011

10 Years of Student Assessment

Michael Winerip's column in today's NY Times describes a series of statements, retractions, and, well, mistakes in New York State and City's attempts to assess public education. I've written about the City's efforts before, for example here (about the City's school rating system) and here (about teacher ratings). All I want to add now is that coming up with metrics is an iterative process, with lots of starts and do-overs. And, as Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch continues to point out, the numbers have to mean something. I think that assessment of public education is something that can be done. I'm not sure that relying entirely on test scores is the way to do it.

One way to start fixing primary and secondary education is to provide good preschool education. If you haven't ever done so, take a look at the Highscope/Perry Preschool research material. It's pretty interesting, and, combined with the recent article about the declining number of "universal" pre-K spots (not to mention the inadequate numbers of child care spots) pretty compelling. If even some of the money spent on testing and test prep in the last decade had been spent instead on expanding high quality preschool education, New York's test scores might be showing a different trend.

I will be taking a little time off over the coming weeks for the holidays and don't expect to be posting as often. See you in January!

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