Wendy Kopp, School Turnarounds, And Selling Seats!

Wendy Kopp weighs in on the teacher data report release in New York City via the WSJ.

Mass Insight rolling out a new forum for ideas and research on school turnarounds and a new blog “In the Zone.”

In The Times Charles Murray proposes dropping unpaid internships, abolishing the SAT, and shifting to class-based affirmative action among other class isolation remedies.  He proposes a way – already somewhat in use today – around the reason the SAT soldiers on today.

For God’s sake choose Lake Placid.

3 Responses to “Wendy Kopp, School Turnarounds, And Selling Seats!”

  1. PhillipMarlowe Says:

    More on the VAM sham:
    ‘Creative … motivating’ and fired
    Highlight:

    Kamras said the disconnect between the observations of Wysocki’s classroom and her value-added scores was “quite rare.” Most teachers with poor ratings in one area, he said, are also substandard in the other.

    “It doesn’t necessarily suggest that anything wrong happened,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just not possible to know for sure.”

    Wysocki said there is another possible explanation: Many students arrived at her class in August 2010 after receiving inflated test scores in fourth grade.

    Fourteen of her 25 students had attended Barnard Elementary. The school is one of 41 in which publishers of the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System tests found unusually high numbers of answer sheet erasures in spring 2010, with wrong answers changed to right. Twenty-nine percent of Barnard’s 2010 fourth-graders scored at the advanced level in reading, about five times the District average.

    D.C. and federal investigators are examining whether there was cheating, but school officials stand by the city’s test scores.

    Kamras acknowledged that the Barnard data are “suggestive” of a problem but said that without clear evidence, nothing could be done. Overall, he said that Wysocki was treated fairly and that her case does not reflect a deeper issue with IMPACT.

    “I stand behind my evaluation of her,” he said. “It does not, in my view, call into question anything.”

    Wysocki was out of work for only a few days. She is teaching at Hybla Valley Elementary School in Fairfax County and came forward to tell her story because she believes it is one that D.C. teachers and parents should know.

    “I think what it says is how flawed this system is.”

    Teach For America alumni Gary Rubenstein (still teaching after 20 years) also addresses the VAM sham:

    The inaccuracy of the New York City teacher evaluation data is taking a beating. As I expected, this data would not stand up to the scrutiny of the public or even the media. Value-Added is proving to be the Cathie Black of mathematical formulas.

    A teacher’s Value-Added score is a number between about -1 and 1. That score represents the amount of ‘standard deviations’ a teacher’s class has improved from the previous year’s state test to the current year’s state test. One standard deviation is around 20 percentile points. After the teacher’s score is calculated, the -1 to 1 is converted to a percentile rank between 0 and 100. These are the scores you see in the papers where a teacher is shamed for getting a score in the single digits.

    Though I was opposed to the release of this data because of how poorly it measures teacher quality, I was hopeful that when I got my hands on all this data, I would find it useful. Well, I got much more than I bargained for!

    In this post I will explain how I used the data contained in the reports to definitively prove: 1) That high-performing charter schools have ‘better’ incoming students than public schools, 2) That these same high-performing charter schools do not ‘move’ their students any better than their public counterparts, and 3) That all teachers add around the same amount of ‘value,’ but the small differences get inflated when converted to percentiles.

  2. Alex Says:

    Re: Murray’s internship proposal, abolishing unpaid ones isn’t the only way to support equity: an organization could offer scholarships for unpaid interns. Seems wacky, but leveling the playing field doesn’t always involve obliterating the perceived source of inequity.

  3. Kent Says:

    I wonder how most kids and parents would feel if we graded students with the same 20 percentage point confidence interval that NYC teachers are graded by.

    Suzy…you earned a 75 (C+) in my class. I’m 95% confident that your true grade is somewhere between a 55 (F) and a 95 (A).

    Sorry about that Ivy League application. But data are data.

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