Quality Counts 2010: Fresh Course, Swift Current--Momentum and Challenges in the New Surge Toward Common Standards
For better or for worse, Education Week’s annual Quality Counts feature, now celebrating its thirteenth birthday, is the closest thing we have to a comprehensive annual report card on American K-12 education. Unfortunately, it’s fraught with methodological weaknesses. (Last year’s was too.) The state-by-state grades--which will inevitably grab most of the headlines--are actually the least reliable component. The grading is at times arbitrary (teacher experience is used to measure teacher quality, an unproven correlation), unfair (is the annual income of someone who graduated high school in 1965 really a good reflection of a state’s education system in 2010?), and redundant (NAEP scores are factored into both the Chance for Success and K-12 Achievement indices, and both children’s family income and statewide adult income are factored into Chance for Success). Such problems are nicely illuminated by CREDO’s Margaret Raymond in a new piece in Education Next. Raymond also recalculates some of the state grades on a fairer scale, with striking results. We’re glad to see people are beginning to cast a critical eye on QC. Still and all, the raw data that EPE gathers are valuable and reward analysis. Also deserving a look is this year’s focus theme--common standards, of course--and a new “Math Progress Index.” The report is available here--free to online subscribers, or in print for a small fee.
Editorial Projects in Education
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