professornana (professornana) wrote,

Measure by Measure

Numbers: they seem to be all some folks need to wave in front of us to confound us with what seems to be something important, something we need to address right away. NCTQ is a champion in this number-waving. Their first report used syllabi to rate the effectiveness and excellence of teacher preparation programs. They based their "evaluations" on the textbooks used and the inclusion of the six pillars of effective reading instruction. The components: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Only the textbooks listed within the report are deemed to be worthy of addressing these components. All others are non-essential. How lovely to be so certain that there is ONE approach to teach reading, right?

Well, now NCTQ is back with a numbers-packed report on teacher attendance. Lots and lots of numbers. However, there is little correlation between excellent teacher attendance and poor teacher attendance and student success. As a matter of fact, here is the range of attendance across the 40 states: 91.5% to 94.9%. If excellence is 95% (let's round it up) and poor attendance is 92%, what does the 3% gap really mean? How does it affect kids? There is a lot of discussion about how much it COSTS schools. There are a dizzying array of charts and graphs all intended to spell doom and gloom but that actually just have lots of numbers with little narrative to discuss the implications, consequences, and conclusions.

Here is the link to the full report: It has, of course, received press, though I am not sure that the reports in the news have been at all accurate. Here is one decrying that Cleveland had the highest absentee rate (that would be about 8% annually): US News and World Report added that absenteeism can hurt student ACHIEVEMENT:

It is time to throw down here. Stop waving meaningless numbers. Start talking about funding, professional development and support, and POVERTY.
Tags: "research"
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