• Brown Center Chalkboard

    The Chalkboard Has Moved

    The Chalkboard has a new home—and a new look! All past and future Chalkboard content will now be at www.brookings.edu/about/centers/brown/chalkboard. Please visit us there, and update your bookmarks. This page will cease to exist shortly and all existing links will redirect to the new page. 

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  • Brown Center Chalkboard

    Be Wary of Ranking NAEP Gains

    Following the release of the 2013 NAEP scores, much attention was paid to the comparative gains of individual states. Using Tennessee as an example, Tom Loveless cautions that rankings may conceal more than they reveal.  He criticizes the practice of combining gains from four tests that are calibrated on different scales and instead provides tables comparing state-by-state gains on all four individual NAEP tests.

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  • Brown Center Chalkboard

    Need for Better Data Trumps Need for College Ratings

    Students at community college

    With public hearings beginning, the Obama administration is moving forward with its plan for a new college ratings system – despite significant data limitations. In this post, Matt Chingos suggests that a plan for collecting better and more complete data on students' academic preparation and post-graduation outcomes might contribute more to higher education policy than the new ratings system.

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  • Brown Center Chalkboard

    Assessing the Plight of Recent College Grads

    Occupy Wall Street Protesters Display Student Debt Figures

    Beth Akers scrutinizes the common narrative of America’s struggling college graduates. Highlighting data from a recent Department of Education report, Akers confirms that 2008 graduates are, on average, earning less and borrowing more than previous cohorts of graduates, but also argues that moving home after graduation is not necessarily tied to a student’s level of debt. She reiterates the long-term nature of an investment in education.
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  • Brown Center Chalkboard

    Climate Change and Value-Added: New Evidence Requires New Thinking

    Teacher presents to class

    Whether or not value-added (or student achievement growth) should be used in teacher evaluations is a question that most people made up their minds about years ago. In this post, Tom Kane argues that detractors should reconsider their opinion, because, as has happened with climate change, there has been a slew of compelling new research on the topic in recent years.

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  • Brown Center Chalkboard

    Deconstructing Union City

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visits fifth grade students at Berkeley Elementary School.

    At NBC’s Education Nation summit, Union City, New Jersey was heralded as a playbook for education reform by scholar David Kirp. In this post, Russ Whitehurst  explains why Union City cannot – and should not – be used as a model for other school districts, and offers sound advice to those who seek to study, and potentially emulate the characteristics of high-achieving districts.

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  • Brown Center Chalkboard

    PISA's China Problem

    Children of migrant workers attend a class at a primary school in Shanghai.

    The Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA) will release its latest scores in December. The scores reported for Shanghai will not be representative of China as a whole although media coverage will suggest that they are. Tom Loveless challenges the OECD to fully disclose its testing agreement with China and urges the public to consider Shanghai’s scores in the proper perspective.

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  • Brown Center Chalkboard

    Why Comparison Groups Are Not the Best Way to Rate Colleges

    U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan briefs the press about education in the White House.

    The Obama administration’s plan to rate colleges based on student outcomes must be carefully honed to ensure fair comparisons between institutions. Matt Chingos argues that using comparison groups is a flawed approach to rating institutions and recommends that the Department of Education instead utilize regression adjustment to generate accurate ratings.

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  • Brown Center Chalkboard

    States' Merit-Based Aid Undermines the Aim of the Federal Pell Grant Program

    A student studies on the campus of San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California.

    Beth Akers highlights the dissonance between federal Pell Grant and state grant aid programs, and suggests that states should reconsider their merit-based approach to aid delivery. Whereas the federal program delivers financial assistance to low-income students who might not otherwise attend college, state programs deliver a significant proportion of aid to high achieving students who are disproportionately from higher income households.  Read More

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  • Brown Center Chalkboard

    The Year of the Asterisk? California's Testing Proposal Subverts Test-Based Accountability

    Students at the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School work on their laptops during a class in Dorchester, Massachusetts (REUTERS/Adam Hunger).

    Thomas Kane reacts to California's recent announcement that it plans to abandon statewide testing in favor of field tests of the Smarter Balanced Assessment - without reporting results. Kane proposes alternative solutions for California and other states eager to accelerate the transition to the Common Core State Standards.

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