it is helpful if you are aware of resources that can help keep you informed.  Since I am not only a teacher, but also ABD in Educational Administration and Policy Studies and very much personally concerned with issues of educational policy,a number of my diaries tend to focus on matters of education.

This morning’s offering will offer you a number of resources you might want to examine as time and your interests permit. These may or may not overlap (at least in part) with some of the things about which I have posted before.  I assure you that all are worth the time to explore if they coincide at all with those issues that concern you.
Arizona State University offers a number of electronic resources about education.  One of these is Education Review, which is an electronic journal of book reviews.  On the hom page you will find links for reviews in English, Spanish and Portuguese, as well as an additional link for brief reivews(about a paragraph on each book).  Major books get a more complete treatment.  The home page provides a list of the most recent reviews.

One recent review which  is of interest to me as a classroom teacher is of a book entitled Towards Coherence between Classroom Assessment and Accountability.. Let me offer the paragraph that describes the structure of the book:

This book is divided into four parts. Part one is an introduction chapter. Part two include five source chapters, each devoted to one accountability system in reasonable detail. The focus is on how coherence is achieved between daily classroom activities and accountability system. Two of the five systems are from countries other than the United States, one from Australia and the other from the Great Britain. This seems to show that while different countries may have different educational systems, the need of such coherence is shared. Part three have ten commentary chapters. They either evaluate the five systems in Part two or address some other important issues on how to establish the coherence. Contributors are either authors of the source chapters or experts in the educational assessment field. Diverse perspectives are reflected in those commentary chapters. Part four is a summary chapter, talking about the appropriate degree of coherence.


Another resource from ASU is the online and peer-reviewed journal about policy entitled Education Policy Analysis Archives.  Currently edited by Sherman Dorn of the Univesity of South Florida (whose name I list because he is also an alumnus of Haverford College and we `Fords tend to take every advantage to brag on our alma mater), it provides access to the articles it offers through abstracts of the first 7 volumes (1993 through 1999 –  for more recent volumes the abstract is imbedded at the start of each article), a search capability, and an index of all volumes.  The is a hot-linked list of recent articles on the home page.

One recent article that might be of interest is entitled Toward an Objective Evaluation of Teacher Performance: The Use of Variance Partitioning Analysis.  Here is the abstract:

Evaluation of teacher performance is usually done with the use of ratings made by students, peers, and principals or supervisors, and at times, selfratings made by the teachers themselves. The trouble with this practice is that it is obviously subjective, and vulnerable to what Glass and Martinez call the “politics of teacher evaluation,” as well as to professional incapacities of the raters. The value-added analysis (VAA) model is one attempt to make evaluation objective and evidenced-based. However, the VAA model–especially that of the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) developed by Dr. William Sanders–appears flawed essentially because it posits the untenable assumption that the gain score of students (value added) is attributable only and only to the teacher(s), ignoring other significant explanators of student achievement like IQ and socio-economic status. Further, the use of the gain score (value-added) as a dependent variable appears hobbled with the validity threat called “statistical regression,” as well as the problem of isolating the conflated effects of two or more teachers. The proposed variance partitioning analysis (VPA) model seeks to partition the total variance of the dependent variable (post-test student achievement) into various portions representing: first, the effects attributable to the set of teacher factors; second, effects attributable to the set of control variables the most important of which are IQ of the student, his pretest score on that particular dependent variable, and some measures of his socio-economic status; and third, the unexplained effects/variance. It is not difficult to see that when the second and third quanta of variance are partitioned out of the total variance of the dependent variable, what remains is that attributable to the teacher. Two measures of teacher effect are hereby proposed: the proportional teacher effect and the direct teacher effect.  

I have noted several times that I belong to the Assessment Reform Network of Fairtest.   One of our participants has taken it upon himself to put together a listing of web resources on testing and assessment.  Here is the text of the most recent version.  He has included his email for those who would wish to offer comments or to suggest additional resources which should be included.

Web Sites: Testing and Assessment

The following are updated at least weekly or monthly

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and  to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is  fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial.

Susan Ohanian’s  huge and useful collection of stuff, news stories, commentary,

Critical and dependable independent analyses of research and policy documents,

Rethinking Schools, an independent, progressive quarterly periodical :

Harvard Civil Rights Project:

Education Policy Research Unit, (EPRU ) Arizona State Univ. Independent analyses of research and policy documents in areas such as student performance standards, assessment, and curriculum. EPRU disseminates its reports, analyses and other documents to policy makers, educators

and the public.

Applied Research Center: Progressive, dependable, focus on race and public policy including testing, a website tracking news articles from every state on the No Child Left Behind Act and monitoring how communities are faring under the law.

National Council  of Teachers of English

Designs for Change is a educational research and reform organization. Mission is to serve as a catalyst for major improvements in the public schools serving the 50 largest cities in the country, with emphasis on Chicago.

National Education Association’s (NEA) updates on the national  lawsuit, also a useful tool for sending letters to Bush and Congress

The Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform, Inc. has a web site that’s updated weekly. Their work isn’t national in scope, but includes a weekly newsletter and archives of F-TREND, Florida Test Reform Email News Digest, now in its third volume., includes articles on public policy from a left perspective including testing. Also Rich Gibson’s Education Page For Democratic Society has extensive resources on California ‘s  tests, the Michigan MEAP, and testing in general

Assembled by   5-05


Those interested in eudcational issues already know that some of the strongest opposition ot the federally imposed testing mandates imposted by the “No Child Left Behind” education law are found in the very RED state of Utah.  But assessment is not just about testing.  The also very RED state of Nebraska takes a different approach to assessment.  Here is the text of another email from the assessment reform network.:

Nebraska is proving that assessment begins locally AND can produce a state assessment system:  STARS (School Based Teacher Led Assessment Reporting System). Certainly one of the most promising things around, check it out here:  

The United States Department of Education provides a webpage with the Approved State Accountability Plans under the NCLB law.  These are provided as links to pdfs.  You can read that of your state, or of any other state in which you are itnterested.

No Child Left is a site which says it is “a site advocating a sound approach to school improvement.  It provides a monthly online “magazine” on releveant educational issues that contains a varied content.  To whet your appetite, here is an email discussing sevral features in the current issue, and which contains near the top a link to which you can go to subscribe to future email alerts:

No Child Left

Volume III, Number 5, May, 2005

This month’s issue offers three articles and a cartoon


Encourage colleagues to subscribe for free at

1. The Annual Testing Myth

By Jamie McKenzie

Many of the ideas and strategies embedded in NCLB/Helter-Skelter are just plain foolish. Beyond foolish. They are untested, unvalidated  and potentially damaging. Annual testing ranks high on the list of foolish, untested NCLB ideas. In this article, McKenzie offers eight reasons the imposition of annual testing by the FEDs is a bad idea.

2. No Gas Pump Left Behind (Reproduced below in full.)

By Jamie McKenzie

In this parody, Jamie McKenzie lampoons the NCLB/Helter-Skelter experience by describing the FEDs’ new program to elevate gas prices at every gas pump across the land.

3. The World Bank’s Possibly Chilling Agenda By Lois Weiner

The rhetorical premise of NCLB, that the federal government will finally hold public schools throughout the nation accountable for their failure to educate poor and working class Hispanic and African American students, has been shown by many authors to mask its key purpose: to create a privatized system of public education that has a narrow, vocationalized curriculum enforced through use of standardized tests. In this article, Weiner looks at World Bank strategies to narrow educational agendas in poor countries.

4. The May Cartoon – “Throwing a Few Bones”

Faced with a revolt against the absurdly inflexible rules and regulations invented to accompany NCLB/Helter-Skelter, the new Ed Secretary has been smiling and throwing bones but making no changes worth writing home about.




Smooth talk now substitutes for substance and honest listening. We have a Secretary who never worked in a school. How did that happen?

I hope these resources prove useful to you.  Have a nice day.

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