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Of Puzzles and Fuzzy Math

Last week in Tennessee education saw TC Weber calling on the Department of Education to trade-in its testing strategy for a new, more effective model. Then, Amy Frogge offered some insightful commentary on the high cost of school board races, even in Nashville. Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen announced she’s going on a summer tour. […]

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Pearson Saves the Day and TN Comes to Expect Failure

Last week, Tennessee reunited with an old friend, testing vendor Pearson. The company was awarded an emergency contract in the amount of $18.5 million to grade TNReady tests from this year. Already, some are questioning the wisdom of this arrangement. As graduation ceremonies take place across Tennessee, the state is also starting a new tradition: […]

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VAM: Correct Diagnosis, Wrong Prescription

In his recent article in Education Post, Arthur Levine laments the limits of current Value-Added Modeling (VAM) while proposing a move to a “new” VAM or VAM 2.0. To his credit, he correctly points out some significant limitations of VAM in determining teacher effectiveness, but the solutions he proposes move in the wrong direction. Here […]

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VAM: “Arbitrary” and “Capricious”

Those are the words from a New York judge in the case of a teacher who sued over her evaluation scores — scores based on value-added modeling, or VAM. While VAM has come under scrutiny from educators and academics as a suspect means of providing teacher evaluation scores, this case marks a turning point as […]

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More Testing Troubles for Tennessee

Last week was a very bad one for the new TNReady test in Tennessee. Here’s what I wrote about it: First, the state’s testing vendor, Measurement Inc. said the delays and challenges were not their fault. Then, correspondence between a Director of Schools and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen revealed some serious concerns about the test […]

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Is RTI Working?

An analysis of a 2015 study by the U.S. Department of Education calls into question the effectiveness of the Response to Intervention program. Specifically, the analysis (and the study it cites) note that implementation has been uneven and in some cases, results in special education services being delayed or denied. The key finding is this: […]

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This Week in Tennessee Education

This week, I’ve written quite a bit about what’s happening in Tennessee education. It is, after all, nearing the end of the legislative session and there’s a lot happening. From TNReady testing to revising the state’s school funding formula, key policy decisions are being made or will be made in the coming week. Here’s what […]

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Is It Anything?

Analysis of legislation proposed in Tennessee reveals nothing … or something very, very bad: Representative Bill Dunn of Knoxville has proposed an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that purports to remove the requirement that the General Assembly adequately fund public schools in the state. However, an Attorney General’s opinion published on March 29 notes: “… the […]

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What If They Just Didn’t Give the Test?

A school district in Tennessee weighs the possibility of not administering state-mandated standardized tests. From Tennessee Education Report: More than one Board Member raised the prospect of the district refusing to administer Phase II. The most forceful comments came from Jared Barrett: Board Member Jared Barrett agreed, but put it more vehemently. “I say we […]

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High-Priced Housing Hits Teachers Hard

NPR reports on the challenge faced by teachers in high-priced housing markets: They simply can’t afford to live or be a part of the communities where they teach. The story notes: Kelly Henderson loves her job, teaching at Newton South High School in a suburb west of Boston. But she’s frustrated she can’t afford to […]

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