Two key uses of international assessments of achievement have been (a) comparing country performances for identifying the countries with the best education systems and (b) generating insights about effective policy and practice strategies that are associated with higher learning outcomes.
The authors of this article investigate the relationship between illustration complexity and the difficulty of PISA 2009 science items in the United States, Mexico, and China. They discuss the implications of their findings for systematically developing PISA science illustrated items.
The author of this commentary reviews and provides comments on the six articles that comprise this special issue on research conducted using PISA data.
The exploratory study presented in this article seeks to contribute to knowledge about test design and construction by focusing on the gap between context characteristics and student performance. The authors address two key questions: What are the characteristics of contexts used in the PISA science items? And what are the relationships between different context characteristics and student performance?
Introductory essay for the three subsequent manuscripts that providing historical analysis since 1865 of In Loco Parentis as a legal, institutional, and social feature of the American college and university campus. I characterize my Introduction as that of a senior scholar who endorses and supports the original and related essays of three younger, new historians of higher education.
This article argues that the power to discipline students in loco parentis was limited by countervailing emphases on college access and due process well before the legal revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s.
This article argues that the doctrine of in loco parentis served as the justification for the sweeping reconstruction of undergraduate life in the 1920s, when administrators and faculty instituted a host of academic, social, and psychological programs and services to help keep students in college.
Performance-based funding programs have become a popular state policy strategy for increasing college completions, among other things. This study asks, To what extent does the introduction of performance funding programs impact two-year degree completion among participating states? Using a difference-in-differences technique, we find that the program had no effect on average and mixed results for the individual states. We conclude that the policy is not a “silver bullet” for improving community college completions.
This study examines the effects of metropolitan school district fragmentation―the proliferation of public school districts within a metropolitan area―on the trajectory of racial/ethnic school segregation between 2002 and 2010.
This introduction is a brief reflection on the import of the Gordon Commission’s work to future considerations of assessment and learning.
This article explains the idea of a neopragmatic postmodernist test theory and offers some thoughts about what changing notions concerning the nature of and meanings assigned to knowledge imply for educational assessment, present and future.
Reprinted with permission from Transitions in Work and Learning: Implications for Assessment, 1997, by the National Academy of Sciences, Courtesy of the National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.
The article provides a rationale for the focus on assessment for learning, that is to assist and improve performance, as opposed to the prevalent approach of assessment of learning, focused on time constrained summative judgments. In the article, we also discuss the likely changes wrought by new and unstable knowledge, technology, and global competition, in the light of democratic educational approaches.
This paper considers future educational assessment in terms of principles of evidential reasoning, focusing the discussion on the changes to the claims our assessments must support, the types of evidence needed to support these claims, and the statistical tools available to evaluate our evidence vis-à-vis the claims. An expanded view of assessment is advanced in which assessments based on multiple evidence sources from contextually rich situated learning environments, including unconventional data regarding human competencies, improve our ability to make valid inferences and decisions all education stakeholders.
Informal, out-of-school education encompasses a variety of programs existing alongside the founding and growth of public schools. This chapter explores the history of the institutionalization of informal, out-of-school education, including programs offered by religious institutions, social service organizations, cultural institutions, special interest organizations, the media and universities. Access to these programs is neither uniformly offered nor guaranteed, a situation that potentially exacerbates existent inequities.
This chapter aims to extend the repertoire of understandings about place and policy in place-based education with a focus on ideas of space, mobility, and belonging. The view provided by this extended perspective leads to the question: How does mobility challenge and provide new ways of thinking about place-based education.
This paper analyzes the political strategies of the early OECD stakeholders in transforming schooling from a cultural to a technological system. In doing so it focuses on the specific rhetoric these stakeholders used and how they were in need of standardizing different existing patterns of thoughts or institutional behaviors in the member countries.
The article analyzes the ideological and political context and mechanisms which have allowed OECD to become a major unchecked power in global educational policy making.
Epitomized by the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the U.S. government’s Race to the Top, “accountability” is becoming a pervasive normalizing discourse, legitimizing historic shifts from viewing education as a social and cultural to an economic project engendering usable skills and “competences.” The purpose of this special issue is to provide context and perspective on these momentous shifts. The papers point to historic antecedents, highlight core ideas, and identify changes in the balance of power between domestic and global policy makers.
This paper uses data from a diverse California school district to examine a multi-year effort to make high-level middle school mathematics courses more inclusive by placing nearly every 8th grader in Algebra I.
Using social network analysis, critical policy studies, and literacy theory, this study analyzes the network of policy actors involved in the campaign to pass a charter school initiative in the state of Washington. This study finds that through a combination individual donations and the support to key local organizations provided by their affiliated philanthropic organizations, a small group of wealthy individuals leveraged a disproportionate amount of influence over the direction and outcome of the charter school initiative in the state of Washington, particularly relative to the average Washington voter.
This study examines whether students’ enrollment in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program improves their ACT composite scores, probability of high school graduation, and probability of college enrollment. Using data on the IB enrollment status of 20,422 students attending thirteen 13 CPS high schools from 2002-2008, I estimate that IB enrollment increases students’ ACT scores by as much as 0.5 standard deviations and their probability of high school graduation and college enrollment by as much as 17 and 22 percentage points, respectively. Though selection bias may contribute to overstating the estimates, the conclusion from the sensitivity analyses is that it is unlikely that this internal-validity challenge negates the principal finding.
Engagement can prevent struggling students from dropping out, and re-engagement in learning can help struggling students who have dropped out return to school and graduate. This chapter presents a case study about a struggling student who dropped out and then came to Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, became engaged in her learning, and graduated. The authors provide policy and practice recommendations as well as a discussion of factors that affect engagement.
This chapter details an alternative high school’s implementation of choice theory and its influence on relational practices and student experience. Student narratives speak of how the school practices that are informed by choice theory promote engagement through a deliberate focus on developmental needs.
This paper points out that the most popular current school reforms offered have failed to accomplish their goal because they fail to understand the fundamental problem of American schools, namely, income inequality and the poverty that accompanies such inequality. Prescriptions to fix our schools cannot work if the diagnosis about what is wrong with them is in error.
Analysis suggests that value-added modeling (VAM) is not reliable or valid for the purpose of identifying and replacing low-performing teachers and is not cost-effective for the purpose of raising student achievement.
This chapter argues for the importance of design-based leadership research (DBLR) for advancing the research and practice of educational leadership, with a focus on school district central offices. DBLR, like other design-based research, calls on researchers to develop designs for practice. Unlike other such research in education that calls for designs for classrooms, DBLR focuses on designs for leaders. Researchers working in this mode develop designs for leadership practice that reflect the latest knowledge about how leaders matter for improved student results; they work alongside leaders to use that knowledge to design and engage in new forms of their own practice consistent with the knowledge and appropriate to their settings. Participants study the process to feed new knowledge into the partnership sites and the field. This chapter elaborates how such research differs from traditional scholarship on district central offices and forms of action research. Challenges to conducting DBLR include focusing practitioners on central offices (especially in tough budget times), capturing central office practice in DBLR knowledge-building activities, and growing and sustaining the work. Early experience illuminates how to address those challenges and advance DBLR partnerships that promise to significantly strengthen leadership practice in support of improved results for all students.
This article, part of a special issue of TCR, considers the political dimensions of validity questions as raised by a keynote address and panel discussion originally held at Teachers College in March 2012.
This study addresses the question: How do educators describe their responses to standards-based reform? We draw on interview data from 60 teachers in 32 schools, in 10 districts in 5 states. Our analysis addresses the following key debates that surround standards and accountability policy: 1) the extent to which previously “left behind” students are receiving better instruction, 2) whether teachers and principals feel accountable to student achievement in a way that fosters positive behavior change, 3) how teachers describe “teaching to the test,” and when and if this is good or bad for teachers and students, and 4) the extent to which educators describe standards-based reforms as fostering desirable changes in pedagogy and/or the content of instruction.
Many attempts to reform teaching fail to be enacted in most classrooms. The purpose of this paper is to present a bridging methodology for connecting pedagogical innovations to the practical demands of teaching.
This paper addresses the still-contested understanding of the relationship between teaching and mandated accountability testing. Based on two years of fieldwork and grounded in the narrative inquiry tradition, this paper presents a fine-grained analysis of the influence testing has on teaching in one social studies teacher’s classroom. Contrary to the position that mandated testing breeds “multiple-choice teaching” and a “just the facts, ma’am” approach to social studies, this study finds that deep and authentic teaching and learning are not incommensurable with mandated testing.