Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fordham Institute Nonsense

Many anti-reformists often refer to a report entitled The State of State Standards 2006 by Fordham Institute as evidence of the failure of NJ Mathematics Standards. of course these same anti-reformists always ignore the tremendous performance of NJ students on the NAEP (but that will be a future post). The Fordham report has been reviewed by The Education Policy Research Unit at the Arizona State University. The full review can be found here. An excerpt is below.

The reviewed report assigns grades to the content standards of 49 states and the District of Columbia, on an A-F scale, and uses those grades as a basis for criticizing schools for lack of progress in improving standards. This review found no evidence supporting the validity of the grades and also found no evidence of a relationship to student academic performance, contrary to the report’s conclusions. The report’s claims in support of its grading practice were selectively data-mined and were seriously lacking in methodological rigor. Policymakers and educators would be ill-advised to base any decisions about policy or practice on the grades assigned by this report.

In summary, these three analyses were selectively mined from data gathered by Fordham – data which themselves are flawed and for which there is no evidence of validity. No rationale for Fordham’s unorthodox ad hoc analyses is provided, and those analyses are sorely lacking in methodological rigor. Indeed, the post-hoc massaging of the data reaches the point of absurdity, as the authors search for some approach to the data that might lend support to Fordham’s conclusion that content standards of the kind it rates highly do result, in fact, in improved student performance

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