by David Safier
Now that stimulus money for education is being doled out, Ed Sec Arne Duncan is giving states a preview of what it will take to get more money next year: data about performance. Things like:
- State test scores side by side with National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) scores. This could cause some problems here and elsewhere, since state tests have been dumbed down over the years to inflate the number of students passing, and the NAEP is much tougher. (States actually have a balloon option, where they can show little progress for the first few years, followed by impossibly rapid progress thereafter. Why should home owners have all the fun? [Really. I'm not making this up.])
- The number of "Failing schools" by NCLB standards that have shown improvement in student achievement since then.
- The number of high school students who graduate, and the number that earn at least a year of college credit.
I'm not thrilled about this data driven assessment push, as I've said earlier. It gives far too much credence to test scores. But we'll see if Duncan actually wants to improve education in this country, or if he just wants to make noise and gather data.