Thursday, April 28, 2011

If Only Schools Were Required to Release Disaggregated Achievement Data

Liz Goodwin:

A new report by the non-profit Education Trust warns that the low achievement of minority and low-income students in high-achieving schools is often masked by the education world's focus on averages.

The study examined math and reading test scores over several years in nearly 2,500 schools in Indiana and Maryland. While overall scores tended to improve in most schools, minority and low-income subgroups often showed little to no improvement on the tests.

NCLB and similar earlier measures have put as much emphasis on subgroup data as is legislatively possible. This data has not been hidden. It could not be less un-hidden. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to gather and publicize it.

If this approach is not having the desired effect, and it is not the approach taken by higher performing countries, perhaps we should conclude that, while continuing to collect and disaggregate data is not a bad idea, it is far from the solution to the problem, and using the data punitively is not a solution at all.

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