Some of the News Fit to Print
NON-COGNITIVE AND KEY
A new report from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research summarizes research on five categories of non-cognitive factors related to academic performance: academic behaviors, academic perseverance, academic mindsets, learning strategies, and social skills. It then proposes a framework for thinking about how these factors interact to affect academic performance, and about the relationship between non-cognitive factors and classroom/school context, as well as larger sociocultural context. It evaluates evidence that non-cognitive factors matter for students' long-term success, clarifying how and why these factors matter, determining if these factors are malleable and responsive to context, if they play a role in persistent racial/ethnic or gender gaps in academic achievement, and how educators might best support the development of non-cognitive factors within their schools and classrooms. This information is from PEN NewsBlast.
LITTLE OF VALUE
A new review from the National Education Policy Center is a critical assessment of the analysis and conclusions reached by Richard Buddin of the RAND Corporation in his statistical analysis of student test data to create value-added scores for schools and teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on behalf of The Los Angeles Times. The authors evaluate whether evidence presented in Buddin's white paper supports use of value-added estimates to classify teachers as effective or ineffective, investigating the strength of his analysis. They also attempted to replicate Buddin's empirical findings through an independent reanalysis of the same LAUSD data, given that sound analysis should be independently replicable. The authors agree with Buddin's finding concerning size of the measured reading and math teacher effects. Other findings, however, raise serious questions. In particular, the authors found evidence conflicting with Buddin's finding that traditional teacher qualifications have no association with student outcomes. In their reanalysis, they found significant and meaningful associations between value- added estimates of teachers' effectiveness and experience and educational background. This information is from PEN NewsBlast.
BILL TO EXPEDITE FIRING TEACHERS IS REJECTED
Los Angeles schools chief John Deasy blasted state lawmakers Thursday for not passing a bill to speed up the teacher-dismissal process, which he and others pushed following the sex-abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary School. The bill fell one vote short of clearing an Assembly education committee when six of the seven Democratic members either opposed it or abstained. Committee Chairwoman Julia Brownley (D-Oak Park) supported the bill, as did four Republican colleagues. The article is in the L.A. Times.
FIVE MORE STATES GET NCLB WAIVERS
Five more states, including Virginia—a state that did not sign onto the Common Core State Standards Initiative—have received wiggle room from the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. The other four states to receive waivers are Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota, and Utah. For those keeping score, that means 24 states have been approved, with 13 still waiting. The article is in Education Week.
ABOUT HIGHER ED
COLLEGE FOR ALL?
The backlash to college tends to be cyclical. But this latest iteration, in which pundits and politicians have questioned a supposed crusade for “college for all,” has been bolstered by the double whammy of a prolonged recession and a presidential election. Many in higher education say the argument merely knocks down a straw man, because neither President Obama nor the powerful foundations leading the “completion agenda” have said that everyone should go to college; instead, they argue that everyone needs some postsecondary training, and that those who do go on to college should graduate at higher rates. Also, often lost in the debate is the distinction of what, exactly constitutes “college.” The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
PRIVATE SECTOR, PUBLIC MONEY
For-profit colleges took a hit this week in California, another sign that policy battles over the commercial higher ed sector may be shifting to the states. Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed the states’ budget, which he said reflects “tough choices” to close a $16 billion shortfall. Among the budget cuts was a $134 million reduction in spending on the generous Cal Grant financial aid program, a cut that will mostly affect students at for-profit colleges. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.