November 2013

Men more likely than women to quit science or math in college

A new statistical analysis by the National Center for Education Statistics sheds some light on why so few Americans pursue STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in college. “Some 28 percent of beginning bachelor’s degree students and 20 percent of beginning associate’s degree students entered a STEM field at some point during their enrollment […]


More than 80 percent of U.S. states are producing high school feedback reports

The Data Quality Campaign issued its annual survey, Data for Action 2013, of how states are collecting and using education data on Nov. 19, 2013. The advocacy group argues that using data more would improve  education policy and classroom instruction. It reported that two states, Arkansas and Delaware, were using data the most. But they’re […]


Low income students show smaller gains within Washington DC’s NAEP test score surge

I remain obsessed with trying to understand the gigantic seven point surge in scores that Washington DC posted on the 2013 NAEP national assessment, which I first reported on Nov. 7, 2013. Last week, on Nov. 15th, I broke the test data down by race and noticed that while black scores did improve, the seven […]


Shanghai likely to repeat strong results on international PISA test in December

Back in 2010, experts were stunned when 15-year olds in Shanghai, China earned the top scores in reading, math and science on the 2009 PISA exams, also known as Program for International Student Assessment. And when the 2012 results come out on Dec. 3, it seems that Shanghai may be poised to do it again, […]


Is gentrification in Washington DC driving the surge in test scores?

As I wrote on Nov. 7, 2103, Washington DC posted the one of the strongest test score gains in the nation on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress and I wanted to look at how demographic shifts in the nation’s capital might be influencing these test results. I began by constructing this table.   […]


Arizona, Wisconsin and Colorado have the highest concentrations of charter schools in the nation

I was just looking at some updated “State Education Reform” statistics from the National Center of Education Statistics and was trying to make sense of the numbers of charter schools in each state. California has the most charter schools by far at 908, but it’s also the most populous state. So I decided to rank […]


Paying good teachers $20K to move to bad elementary schools works and is cheaper than reducing class sizes

A November 2013 Mathematica study conducted for the Institute of Education Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education shows that paying good teachers $20,000 to transfer to a low performing elementary school raised the test scores of students by 4 to 10 percentile points. No positive effect was found at the middle school level. Mathematica […]


Student participation in K-12 online education grows but fewer states run virtual schools and classes

It’s really hard to get a handle on the growth of online education. Schools are experimenting with all forms of it in a very decentralized way. One teacher might assign a Khan Academy video to a class one day for homework. Another school might contract with a for-profit online course provider, such as Apex, to […]


Washington DC and Tennessee post huge gains in math and reading in 2013 while nation shows small improvement

Fourth and eighth grade public school students in Washington DC and Tennessee showed huge gains on national math and reading tests in 2013 from two years ago, the last time the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) exams were administered. Unusual seven point gains were seen on some tests, whose results were released on Nov. […]


Federal “datapalooza” and college ratings to come next year

Inside Higher Ed reported Oct. 31, 2013 that the White House and Department of Education will be hosting a “datapalooza” in the Spring of 2014 that will “look at better ways to package and provide access to existing federal data on colleges and students, such as the government’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, known as […]