kitchen table math, the sequel: Jaye Green on "no stats all star"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jaye Green on "no stats all star"

[Shane] Battier is what business guys call a “white space” employee. The term refers to the space between boxes on an organizational chart. A white space employee is someone who does whatever it takes to achieve organizational goals and makes the organization work much better as a whole.

As we move into the era of value-added analysis for teacher merit pay, this article provides much food for thought. School leaders must consider carefully what they will reward, and give some consideration to how white space behavior is rewarded. Rewards should not just be based on individual learning gains- reaching school wide goals should also be strongly rewarded. Otherwise my incentive as a math teacher will be to assign six hours of math homework a night- and to hell with everyone else (see Iverson, Allen).

the no stats all star


For my money, "to hell with everyone else" is a better explanation of Paul Attewell's findings on math-science tracking in winner-take-all high schools (pdf file) than Attewell's assumption that wealthy schools deliberately privilege 10% of their student population at the expense of the other 90%.


5 comments:

Allison said...

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Personally, I'm against the "School wide" goal, because I don't believe for a second that the school's goal is the parent's goal.

Michael Lewis' Shane Battier article is great, but the analogy of the school to a team where the teacher are the players and the STUDENTS ARE THE OUTCOME? POINTS EARNED? NOTHING? etc. is WRONG. Or rather, it's an accurate representation of the PROBLEM not the solution.

The analogy should focus on the STUDENTS. Schools are not teams of students, and schools as teams of teachers are not incentivized to have students learn at all because no one is measuring their outputs relative to aNYTHING useful.

You want to incentivize the right things? Stop thinking of the school as the team. They of the student body first. THINK OF THE ACTUAL INDIVIDUALS and how THEY ARE WINNING OR LOSING.

We've already got "school wide" incentives, and we've seen them completely gamed because they don't depend at all on longitudinal improvements for each child.

Anonymous said...

Over 10 years ago, US Swimming changed their swimmer ID system to give each swimmer a unique ID which remains with that swimmer as long as he/she is in competitive swimming. It does not change, from under-8 beginners through Olympic Trials, wherever in the US that swimmer trains and competes. My understanding is that it would help track patterns of participation/attrition, so that
there would be less of the latter.

The public education system could do something similar, but privacy issues and the potential for politically inconvenient educational outcomes etc. prohibit its consideration,let alone its implementation.

Catherine Johnson said...

We've already got "school wide" incentives, and we've seen them completely gamed because they don't depend at all on longitudinal improvements for each child.

Good point -- and I agree. We're getting killed by group means around here.

I posted this passage from Jaye Green's blog because his point hadn't occurred to me -- !

Catherine Johnson said...

The public education system could do something similar, but privacy issues and the potential for politically inconvenient educational outcomes etc. prohibit its consideration,let alone its implementation.

With the up-front observation that I'm obviously not an expert in predicting unintended consequences, that idea sounds great to me.

btw, I'm fairly sure that a friend of mine who works in medical research said that this is used in that arena, too. Individual subjects have individual, coded ID numbers so their particular response to interventions can be tracked.

Catherine Johnson said...

In that case, each subject is his own control.