Thursday, July 14, 2016

Forget fancy evaluation schemes

Sent to the Los Angeles Times, July 14.

The WestEd "California Model" for rating public schools ("Get to green," July 14) was designed by people who have no idea what is important in education. 
Common sense and a great deal of research tell us that high poverty is the major cause of low performance in many of the categories in the California Model: low test scores, low graduation rates, high absenteeism,  and high suspension rates are all related to student poverty.
Children living in high poverty have poor diets, inadequate medical care, and little access to books; the best teaching in the world has little impact when children are hungry, ill and have nothing to read. 
If we substantially reduce poverty or at least protect children from the effects of poverty, performance on the WestEd evaluation model will be high all students.  Any evaluation system will give similar results. 
Forget fancy evaluation schemes. Work on the cause, not the effect: feed the animal, don't waste time and money designing fancier ways of weighing it.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

original article: http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-california-essa-school-ratings-colors-20160713-snap-story.html

For much more detail about the evaluation proposal, and penetrating comments by Anthony Cody, please see: http://www.livingindialogue.com/californias-new-accountability-system-multiple-measures/

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