Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fordham's "High Flyer" report gets low marks

"The report’s flawed analysis and interpretation leads to biased results and to an unsupported conclusion that many high-performing students do not maintain their academic edge while more low-performing students catch up." -- NEPC review of High Flyer
These days, it's getting tougher for right-wing think tanks to pass off their school reform propaganda as legitimate research. The reason? There's a group of skilled academics over at NEPC, armed with the necessary research skills, who are able to take on and debunk their politically-aimed studies.

Case in point -- A recent report put out by the conservative Fordham Institute and Northwest Evaluation Association, Do High Flyers Maintain Their Altitude?, claims that the academic performance of high-achieving students is being undermined by a policy focus on lower-achieving students.

The problem is, their claim isn't supported by solid evidence. University at Buffalo, SUNY, professor Jaekyung Lee, a nationally known expert on accountability and equity issues in education, finds that Fordham's conclusions rest on biased methodology and misleading arguments.

Lee concludes:
"So the good news or bad news, depending on one’s predilection, is that everybody improves to more or less the same extent over time, implying equal benefits of schooling. However, if we are concerned about the issue of equity, the picture looks gloomy. The clear bad news is that the achievement gap between high and low achievers is large and does not narrow over time in general. And more specifically, racial and poverty gaps also do not narrow (and sometimes widen) over time."
Find Jaekyung Lee’s review on the NEPC website at:

In fairness, Fordham's Mike Petrilli went on the Jim Bohannon Show and got Jimbo to say that he found the study to be "very important."

1 comment:

  1. Even the researchers who did the study have distanced themselves from Fordham's bogus conclusions.


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