Understanding Cowen Institute’s Botched VAM Effort

deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

We are in an age of so-called “data-driven” education reform. Numbers and analyses are being worshiped as the end-all, be-all evidence of education quality. Student standardized test scores are at the center of the majority of such analyses. Moreover, in order to “drive” the privatization of public education using quantitative data analysis, corporate-reform-bent philanthropies and businesses are dumping money into “institutes,” groups of often questionably-credentialed individuals who promote attractive reports full of impressive numbers and analyses meant to wow the public into believing that test-driven “reform” is working.

The edge that these institutes (and other corporate-reform-promoting “nonprofits”) have in wielding statistical analyses is that neither the public nor the media is able to critically examine the quality of the work. Therefore, both are susceptible to swallowing whole the institute’s summation of its findings.

After all, if the physical appearance of the report is attractive, and if the report comes from…

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