Changes at AEM

I, AEM President Bryan Shelly, have accepted an offer to become the Evaluation, Intervention and School Improvement Coordinator for Chesterfield County Public Schools. While this position is full time, I will continue AEM as much as my new responsibilities allow.

Bryan Shelly
5-Star Students, AEM release white paper on how to build an effective student activities program

Study after study confirms that student activities improve every conceivable outcome for young people. To help all schools realize these benefits, 5-Star Students and AEM have collaborated on a newly released white paper that explains how to build an effective student activities program. Topics covered include how to plan, incentivize, publicize, and reward group membership and activities attendance so that all students get involved, and how to track all forms of participation to know which students need more opportunities. 5-Star Students and AEM see this white paper as a crucial part of their shared mission to provide high-quality activities participation opportunities to all students. Read the full white paper here.

Elizabeth Sobka
Research & the ESSA Pt 2: The four-tiered problem

Last month, I discussed my concern that the ESSA’s expansion of the states’ role in program evaluation research threatens to overwhelm state departments of education (DOEs). I suspect that, given their limited capacity, most DOEs will not often choose to undertake their own program evaluation. Instead, they will outsource efficacy research to independent firms or rely on studies vendors provide on their own product.

Elizabeth Sobka
Why teachers, parents need data science

For many parents and educators, “data” is a four-letter word.
Parents have rightly begun to insist that schools prioritize data security to protect sensitive information about their children. Many teachers feel that the education data revolution is nothing more than a hammer that the world uses to beat them over the head. Every time a new set of test results is released, certain observers rush to interpret the results as a referendum on the quality of America’s educational professionals.

Elizabeth Sobka
What AERA misses about value-added teacher evaluation

“Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” Winston Churchill
Last week, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) issued a statement on the use of Value-Added Models (VAM) for teacher evaluation. As a proud AERA member, I’m both happy to see my profession demand responsible use of the tools of our trade and a little sad that AERA seems willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Elizabeth Sobka
Smelly stickers 2.0: data innovation in the classroom

To this point, the education data revolution in the United States has been a top-down movement that state and federal governments have driven. These are good and necessary efforts, but we will not unlock the full educational potential of data without the ability of teachers, principals, and other actors on the ground to use data techniques to address the problems they see every day.

Elizabeth Sobka
Data, Rhetoric, and the Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind

If you read this blog regularly, you probably know that the battle over the reauthorization for No Child Left Behind is heating up and figures to be one of the policy issues dominating Washington over the next six months. In the Senate, Lamar Alexander leads the charge to alter both NCLB and the policies the Obama Administration pushed in exchange for granting states waivers to NCLB. The Administration has indicated it will fight to keep at least some of the provisions. Prognosticators are prognosticating.

Elizabeth Sobka