Effective Measures of Education Quality
Michigan’s School Reform Office (SRO) recently announced its intent to identify schools for potential closure in the next few years. All schools scoring in the bottom 5% of the state’s quality ranking system for the last three years will be candidates for closure.
To make the policy more rigorous and transparent we propose a new way of defining “quality” based on absolute, not relative standards for student and school performance.
To make it more fair, we suggest including metrics assessing the level of difficulty schools face in meeting quality standards.
And, to make it more useful, we call for schools to be grouped by level of difficulty so that schools with different levels of success but similar challenges can work together to improve quality.
The Institute for Research and Reform in Education (IRRE) has been working in the Detroit area for five years with multiple partners committed to improving high school graduation rates. In our study of graduation rates and student academic outcomes, we analyzed school performance data from 2010 to 2015 representing over 90,000 K-12 students and survey data from approximately 32,500 4th -12th grade students from 2013 to 2015. We also reviewed results of our own and our partners’ efforts to strengthen graduation rates in Detroit area schools.
What have we learned?
Nine Yale undergraduate students at the Education Center of the Roosevelt Institute are now digging into New York, New Jersey, and Washington DC’s systems for rating school quality to see if there might be a better way to decide which schools get sanctioned and rewarded for their performance. Teaming up with research staff from IRRE, these students will be applying IRRE’s Education Quality Information System (EQIS) to publicly available data that are used to assess how well (or badly) schools are performing. In all fifty states and DC, ratings like these are used to decide what, if anything, the state should do to intervene in these schools and school districts.
The Institute for Research and Reform in Education (IRRE) has been working in Detroit for five years with multiple partners committed to improving high school graduation rates. In our research capacity, we analyzed school performance data from 2010 to 2015 representing over 90,000 K-12 students and survey data from approximately 32,500 4th – 12th grade students from 2013 to 2015. We also reviewed results of our own and our partners’ efforts to strengthen graduation rates in Detroit area schools.
Public educators spend their professional lives supporting student success. Taxpayers invest billions of dollars in support of these educators’ efforts. Students depend more than ever on their education to help them meet 21st century challenges and opportunities. These bare bone facts demand that timely, meaningful and credible information be available to assess education quality. The big data movement gives us ways to access, integrate, analyze and display massive amounts of information. What education requires is a “right data” movement to ensure educators, policy makers and citizens get what they need to know to do their jobs as education stakeholders. IRRE and others are trying to meet this challenge.