Archive September 2012
My own prejudices. I am a policy analyst with nil expertise in education. I support publication of national standards data. I am agnostic as to whether national standards should have been introduced in the first place, but furious at those “public servants” who sought to obstruct implementation of a lawful Government policy: no integrity.
I’m mainly interested in what the standards data can and can’t tell us, and how they might be used to improve education outcomes. The lens I’m trying to look through is how would I tackle this if I were at the Ministry of Education?He follows up:
Where cross-school comparisons might come in useful is in identifying stand-out schools so that successful and/or innovative practices can be, where appropriate, replicated more widely. Obviously, what works in a school within one particular cultural, social, and economic context won’t necessarily work for a school that’s in a totally different one. You do your data analysis and your case studies, then you devise sensible categories and work within them.
So long as moderation is at least better than hopeless, in time, we’ll also learn quite a bit more than we already know about the impact of social and economic factors on academic attainment during the early years of school. This is important, because it’s these early years that are assumed to matter most. National standards data, for all its flaws, is or can be made rich enough to support meaningful research that will help us improve how we teach our children.
Depending on whether or not I can be bothered, I might write up some stuff on why I don’t like deciles as analytical tools. But not this week.The post has nice context around why we shouldn't expect standardized testing or strong grade moderation in New Zealand. What should parents be looking at rather than just a school's ranking?
I’d look for signs that schools are using the standards sensibly on a student level. Especially for students not at standard, I’d want to see individualized learning plans, with achievable benchmarks/milestones. Ideally, these plans would be designed in and as a collaboration between teacher, student, and caregiver. Give the student a sense of direction and ownership: here’s what we want you to be able to do, here’s our plan for getting you there, and here’s how you’ll be able to feel your own progress along the way.
Over time, I’d look for signs that schools are using standards, in conjunction with the learning plans, to do some value-added appraisal of teachers. I would incorporate this formally into professional development structures. I accept that there’s only so much a teacher can be reasonably expected to do for kids who turn up hungry, have caregivers with significant reading difficulties, or who switch between schools a lot. (These are, incidentally, things that are thought to correlate pretty tightly with decile.) Placing appropriate weight on factors like this is something that I think standards will be able to do over time, even if they’re fairly messy.Helpful advice. Our oldest starts in at proper school in February next year. * Emil previously brought us chapter 1 of a short story chronicling how the Wellington bureaucracy might respond to a zombie outbreak, partially as follow up to a fun Twitter hashtag. I look forward to the story's second chapter.
EconTalk this week Sep 27No Comments
Education regressions Sep 262 Comments
|Table 1: Full sample: Reading, Writing, and Math
|Students per teacher||0.00282*||0.00362*||0.00215|
|Proportion of Maori students||-0.0664*||-0.0848*||-0.112***|
|Proportion of Pacific students||-0.115***||-0.114**||-0.0676|
|Proportion of Asian students||-0.0796**||-0.0787*||0.00448|
|Proportion of International students||0.290||0.863**||1.510***|
|Proportion of MELAA students||0.0952||-0.0934||-0.0722|
|Proportion of students Other ethnicity||0.428||1.043*||1.040**|
|Minor Urban Area (Rural dropped)||0.00817||-0.0104||-0.0257|
|Secondary Urban Area (Rural dropped)||-0.0189||-0.0283||-0.0416**|
|Major Urban Area (Rural dropped)||0.00890||-0.00366||-0.0186|
|Boys school (co-ed dropped)||0.101***||0.118***||0.205***|
|Girls school (co-ed dropped)||0.125***||0.181***||0.142***|
|State school (integrated schools dropped)||-0.0246*||-0.0594***||-0.0219|
|Composite (Year 1-15) (Full Primary dropped)||-0.0221||-0.0566*||-0.0384|
|Contributing (Year 1-6) (Full Primary dropped)||0.0127||0.0345***||0.0338***|
|Intermediate (year 7 and 8) (Full Primary dropped)||-0.0673***||-0.0974***||-0.107***|
|Secondary (Year 7-15) (Full Primary dropped)||-0.0939***||-0.110***||-0.158***|
|t statistics in parentheses * p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001|
James Stafford: Whenever oil prices spike politicians are quick to blame speculators and oil companies for manipulating the markets. Are you in agreement with this – are speculators and oil companies to blame? Or are there other factors that are overlooked deliberately or otherwise by the mainstream media? James Hamilton: The story is pretty simple, and even though politicians may try to distort it, you’d hope that the media would do a better job of reporting the truth than they have. World oil production was basically stagnant between 2005 and 2008, even though world GDP was up 17%. With economic growth like that you’d normally expect increased demand, particularly from the rapidly growing emerging economies, and in fact China did increase its consumption by a million barrels a day over these 3 years. But with no more oil being produced, that meant that the rest of us– the U.S., Europe, Japan– had to reduce our consumption. It took a pretty big price run-up before that happened. To those claiming the price is too high, I would ask, how high do you think the price had to go to persuade Americans to reduce oil consumption by a million barrels a day?We have seen demand rising (on the back of increasing productive capacity in the developing world) while supply has stagnated. Many times people have told me “there is heap of oil lying around” – and this is true – but the question is, “what is the cost of extracting this oil”. Even some of the most optimistic people say that we shouldn’t expect oil prices to fall below $70US a barrel in current dollar terms. The big saviour will hopefully be technology – higher prices drives the incentive to find substitutes. However, that doesn’t stop the intervening period being painful.
Auckland stadium review Sep 26No Comments
Limits of monopoly Sep 26No Comments
- some people had a legal monopoly
- it was not a natural monopoly
- technological change made it simple to subvert the legal monopoly
- which Dotcom allegedly did
- so the owners of the legal right summoned the authorities
- who used illegal means to enforce the legal right.
- ‘Con artists prey on elderly’ vs ‘Con artists prey on elderly on the internet’
- ‘Teenage boys view sexy photos’ vs ‘Teenage boys view sexy photos on the internet’
- ‘My cat did this cute thing yesterday’ vs ‘My cat did this cute thing yesterday on the internet’.
What explains the dominance of the US in elite higher education? Shailendra Mehta offers a novel explanation: the role of alumni. Graduates of US colleges and universities tend to identify strongly with their institutions and care deeply about their school’s reputation and ranking. Only in the US do alumni play such a strong role, not only in financial support (often connected with athletics), but governance.If the Mehta idea is right then should we strength the role that the alumni plays in the governance of New Zealand's universities? Alumni have advantages as major players in university governance. 1) they have an interest in the success of the university and in maintaining its reputation. If the uni's reputation falls so does the value of being a graduate from that uni. 2) they have knowledge about the university and its workings. In areas where expertise is a major component of producing the final product, an inherent knowledge of the area is a positive in terms of getting better organisational outcomes. Alumni can have such knowledge of their institutions.
[N]o group cares more about a university’s prestige than its alumni, who gain or lose esteem as their alma mater’s ranking rises or falls.
Indeed, alumni have the most incentive to donate generously, and to manage the university effectively. Given their intimate knowledge of the university, alumni are also the most effective leaders. Through alumni networks, board members can acquire information quickly and act upon it without delay.
All great universities are nonprofit organizations, created to administer higher education, which benefits society as a whole. But US universities found a way to integrate competition’s benefits into the European concept of nonprofit, or so-called eleemosynary, corporations. The lack of profit does not diminish an alumni-dominated board’s incentive to compete for prestige by, for example, hiring distinguished faculty, accepting meritorious students, and striving for athletic or artistic achievement.
Of course another group with much the same two attributes are the current academic staff of the university. And what we see in terms of governance is involvement of both groups but should the alumni have greater say?
The thing is, when I saw the first panel the first question that popped into my mind was “nominal or real dollars” – the amount I ask that, all day long, is ridiculous. These things are always best when they are relatively true …