October 2013

Data Debate: Smartest U.S. states don’t hold a candle to global competitors

On Oct. 24, 2013, Julia Ryan wrote in The Atlantic that American Education isn’t Mediocre — It’s Deeply Unequal, after digesting new test score data that rank U.S. states among other nations. “Students in Massachusetts are doing great compared to their international peers, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. Students in Alabama, Mississippi, […]


No connection between income and public pre-K in New York State

A new graphic shows how uneven public pre-K is throughout the state of New York. The school districts shaded in dark green are where more than 75% of the 4 year olds attend a universal pre-K program funded by the state. In the Clifton-Fine school district, only 25% of the children are poor, but 100% […]


Unclear where U.S. students stand in math and science

I don’t know what to make of a long-awaited report issued Oct. 24, 2013 by the National Center of Education Statistics showing that most U.S. eighth grade students are not at the bottom of the global barrel when it comes to math and science. The study extrapolates what students in every state in the Union would […]


A data-driven argument to reduce testing in schools

The U.S. is off to a bad start when it comes to using data to improve schools, concludes a National Education Policy Center October 2013 report entitled Data Driven Improvement and Accountability by Andy Hargreaves and Henry Braun of Boston College. The authors urge U.S. policy makers to reduce the amount of testing in schools and to measure student […]


California student-teacher ratio highest in the country

The number of public school students for every full-time teacher in California was 23.4 during the 2011-12 academic year, almost 50 percent above the national average of 16 students per teacher. The lowest student-teacher ratio was in Vermont with 10.7 students per teacher. The National Center for Education Statistics released in October 2013 a preliminary […]


Analysis of teacher surveys points to a high-tech pitfall — one size fits all

Sometimes a bunch of data analysis leads to a non-numerical, but important thought. If teachers rarely get to decide what to purchase for their classrooms, be it the desks or the textbooks, then administrators might end up choosing educational software based on which vendors offer the best prices or cover the most subjects. And the […]


Momentum growing to protect student data

Who owns a schoolchild’s data? Everything from where they live to their test scores? Schools collect it and the federal government explicitly allow schools to share this data with outside contractors, such as a data storage company or an educational software vendor, without getting parental permission first. But it’s unclear what schools and outside vendors […]


Bonus pay for teachers thoroughly discredited

Debate closed: paying teachers extra for student performance does not work. The research community’s conviction that giving teachers bonus pay for high student test scores does not work was solidified in the fall of 2013 when the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences added a RAND report to its What Works Clearinghouse and […]


Shelf space for books at home predicts educational outcomes

A fascinating blog post, “Does Poverty Cause Low Achievement?“, by Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute cautions researchers against using poverty or family income when crunching numbers to come up with education policies. He argues that poverty in and of itself doesn’t cause low achievement. And flawed educational research conclusions have been made by […]


NYC high school graduates read by third grade

A new data study shows that third graders who can’t read proficiently are unlikely to graduate from high school in New York City. Only 2.7% of students who failed to meet a basic third grade English Language Arts (ELA) standard went on to meet or exceed the benchmark in eighth grade. Only one in three […]


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