Some of the News Fit to Print
VALUE-ADDED MEASUREMENT: WHAT IT IS AND IS NOT
Whether we’re measuring teacher skills or school performance, value-added evaluation continues to shape our definition of successful education. According to researchers at the Value-Added Research Center (VARC) at UW–Madison, a value-added model is simply a statistical formula that estimates the contribution of schools, classrooms, teachers, and other educational factors to student achievement. What makes value-added unique is that it also measures, and controls for, non-school sources of student achievement growth, including, for example, family education, social capital, and household income. Value-added models take into account that different schools serve very different populations of students. Controlling for non-school influences allows educators and researchers, like those at VARC, to make apples-to-apples school comparisons rather than apples-to-oranges comparisons. Value-added measurement provides one way to help determine the effectiveness of teachers and schools at the K–12 level and in postsecondary institutions.
AFT CALLS FOR TEACHER ‘BAR EXAM’
The American Federation of Teachers has unveiled an ambitious new initiative to raise entry standards for teacher-preparation programs—and to create a "universal assessment," analogous to the bar exam in law, that teachers should have to pass to show they are ready to take on their own classrooms. The product of months of discussion by an AFT task force, the report released this weekend recommends that teacher-preparation programs raise their entry standards to attract academically capable students. The programs should require candidates at both the elementary and secondary level to have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and get a minimum grade on college- or graduate-school-entry exams, such as a 24 on the ACT. The post is from Education Week’s Teacher Beat blog.
MORE PRINCIPALS LEARN THE JOB IN REAL SCHOOLS
A growing number of principal-preparation initiatives are forsaking university classrooms in favor of much more familiar training grounds: the schools and districts where those aspiring leaders will end up working. Through coaching and mentorship initiatives, residencies and internships, and other new programs, both districts and university education schools are turning their focus to building practical readiness, in context, and offering continued learning and support for principals already on the job. The article is in Education Week.
JUDGE DEALS A SET BACK TO LOUISIANA’S VOUCHER PROGRAM
NEW ORLEANS — Last January, Gov. Bobby Jindal took the oath of office for his second term, declaring in his inauguration speech that anyone who stood in the way of his education reform efforts “must stand down.” On Friday, a judge in Baton Rouge said, in effect: not so fast. The article is in The New York Times.
ABOUT HIGHER ED
A BETTER WAY TO PREPARE TEACHERS
Congressman Michael Honda and Senator Jack Reid write in Inside Higher Ed: America’s economic future depends on the success of our public schools, and the success of our schools depends upon effective teachers and principals. In the next Congress, both the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act will be up for reauthorization. We need to seize this opportunity to improve the chances for student success by building a truly collaborative system for educator preparation -- one that creates a positive school environment, allows educators to work together and connects higher education to early childhood and K-12 education.
COLLEGES AGREE TO RECRUIT KIPP ALUMNI
Twenty colleges and universities, including some of the nation's most prestigious, have pledged in the past year to recruit more students from the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) charter school network that focuses on educating the rural and urban poor. The partnerships are intended to help more disadvantaged students get college degrees. The article is in the Washington Post.
FREE, UNLESS YOU WANT TO PAY
OpenStax College, the nonprofit, open-access publisher out of Rice University, announced the launch of its first iBook text Monday, becoming the latest publisher to try to make the free-with-paid-options model sustainable. The interactive, iPad-based version of OpenStax’s free-to-read online College Physics text is available through iTunes for $4.99. OpenStax, which launched earlier this year, is one of several publishers trying to combat the “access gap,” as founder and director Richard Baraniuk calls it. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.