Sent the NY Post, Feb. 15, 2011
The New Relay School of Education: Not Off to a Promising Start
The new Relay School of Education ("Charters get own education graduate schoool," Feb. 15) appears to demand hard evidence of effectiveness by graduates: They must show that the students they teach have increased their standardized test scores, known as "value-added" evaluation.
A number of studies show that value-added evaluations have serious problems: Different tests produce different value-added scores, and teachers' value-added ratings vary from year to year, sometimes quite a bit.
Also, it is possible to game the system and produce increases in test scores just by teaching test-taking strategies. Scores increase, but nobody learns anything.
Relay thus plans to grant Master's Degrees on the basis of an invalid measure, not a promising start for a new program.