Keeping Score in the Greene-Polikoff Wager

The unraveling of Common Core makes this flop the most obviously ill-conceived and doomed-to-fail reform effort since the Annenberg Foundation threw $500 million away in the 1990s.
Morgan responded:
At last count, 1 state out of 45 has repealed the standards.
So we agreed to make a wager:
In ten years, on April 14, 2024, I bet Morgan that fewer than half the states will be in Common Core.  We defined being in Common Core as “shared standards with shared high stakes tests-even if split between 2 tsts.”  Given 51 states and DC, Morgan wins if 26 or more states have shared standards and high stakes tests and I win if the number is 25 or less.  The loser has to buy the winner a beer (or other beverage).
It hasn’t even been four months, but I thought it might be useful to report the current score on our bet.  With the withdrawal of Iowa this week from the Smarter Balanced testing group, there are only 26 states that plan to use one of the two national tests to assess their students during the 2014-15 school year.  It’s true that 35 states remain part of the two testing consortia and some of the 9 states that have delayed implementation of the common tests may begin using one of them in the next few years.  But it’s safe to say that several of those 9 delayed start states will never follow through.  And some of the 26 states actually using a common test in 2015 are already making noises about withdrawing.  See for example reports coming out of Wisconsin and South Carolina.
If one more state that is currently using one of the common tests drops it than decides to follow through on implementation, I will have won the wager.  And we have more than 9 years to see that happen.  Mmmmm.  I’m thinking that a nice Belgian ale would be a delicious prize for victory.
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14 Responses to Keeping Score in the Greene-Polikoff Wager

  1. Don’t get ahead of yourself, Jay! The bet is about where we’ll be on April 14, 2024, so you’ve still got 9.6ish years ’til you can declare victory (and I have 9.6ish to come back). I confess to being quite wrong about the tests so far, though I think you’ll end up being quite wrong about just the standards part of the standards.

    • Good point. Common Core might get a second wind and have new states join it later. It just doesn’t seem very likely.

      Either way we’ll both have to wait 10 years until anyone gets to quench his thirst.

    • Ze'ev Wurman says:

      Morgan, I wouldn’t be too sure about the standards themselves either. First, half a dozen of states bailed out already which makes ten total so far. Even if many will end up with warmed-over Common Core as Indiana did, they are not the same which prohibits common testing now or in the future. And more states are in the pipe to bail out.

      Second, I think that the states that simply *renamed* their standards but kept content identical with CC (Florida, Arizona, etc.) were too smart by half and shot themselves in the foot. Now that their standards have a unique name there is nothing to stop the states from modifying them over time. After all, I want to see the future local politician who will argue for retaining fidelity to the national CC “because we lied to you when we changed the name, and we really can’t change anything there.” So in the next few years those will also diverge.

      • Greg Forster says:

        I think you’re too optimistic that name changes will be followed by content changes. Will there be any important political pressure for such changes? Granted, as you say, a backstop against such change has been removed. But a change still requires enough people to want it badly enough to fight for it. With the CC issue sidelined, won’t demand for change dissipate? Maybe in a decade they’ll have changed, but to definitely expect they’ll changed within a few years? It’ll take that long just for people to put their heads up again and see if the shooting’s stopped.

      • Ze'ev Wurman says:

        Perhaps I am too optimistic. Yet when parents will go ballistic over test results next year, when teachers flood the capital because of unreasonable Common Core expectations in K-1 or dumbed-down content in high school, nobody will be able to argue “but we can’t change it because it is the Common Core.”

        So let’s wait and see. But I am optimistic. 🙂

  2. pdexiii says:

    May I suggest Allagash Tripel; demand the 750ml bottle, AND the appropriate glass from which to enjoy it.

  3. America’s education leaders and teacher unions have successfully used local control to set varying standards and measures across the nation – thus largely preventing meaningful comparisons from one district and/or state to another, as well as comparisons with other nations. That same education cabal has also repeatedly led changes to those various standards and measures, using the guise of ‘continuous improvement’ as their rationale; the by-product, however, has been also making it much more difficult for districts and states to compare current with previous performance.

    Thus, Common Core, properly implemented and managed, could provide a massive benefit – meaningful comparability and accountability across the nation and the span of years. Those desiring greater accountability figuratively risk cutting their own throats by opposing/decimating Common Core.

    • Greg Forster says:

      We already have this through NAEP. Common Core adds no further value for transparency purposes.

      • pdexiii says:

        The NAEP is given randomly; 2013 was the first year in 19 I’ve had my students take it. Even though the sampling is statistically significant, those who oppose standardized tests will use that to counter what the results tell them about their students.

        Although they will use a battery of other excuses, I believe there are far too many folks who fight against any common content because it would expose what they aren’t teaching. Any parent can download the CC standards; if your school isn’t teaching them that becomes apparent immediately. If California and Texas (folk out here hate being compared to that country bumpkin state) both employ Common Core but Texas students perform better than California students that shines the ugly light on California, the brightness and heat too many folks don’t want to face.

        Those same folks also fight choice, because again the outcomes expose what learning is or isn’t happening, manifested by parents letting their feet do the talking.

    • Ze'ev Wurman says:

      You are living 10-20 years in the past. Since 1990s in many states, and certainly since 2003 and NCLB in all states, state results are published annually, for all schools at state level. So hiding within the state is impossible, as all schools results are readily available for comparison.

      Also since NCLB all states take NAEP every two years, so cross-state comparison is readily available and many comparative studies and tools (e.g., http://globalreportcard.org/ ) have been published.

      Finally, I don’t see any “massive benefit” in cross-country comparison. Researchers have the NAEP, and non-researchers rarely need to compare schools across the nation. Why would a Mom in Portland, Oregon care how her child’s school compares to schools in Portland, Maine? Less than 2% of students move across stat lines every year, and that includes the military. “Massive” it ain’t.

      • NAEP tests were all revised in 2004. Reading performance for 17-year-olds (the ‘ultimate product’ of K-12) were very, very slight up between 1971-2012, unchanged for mathematics. I originally thought the 2004 changes left the results non-comparable – however, upon re-checking I know the new version was re-normed to achieve equivalency. That’s the ‘good news.’

        The ‘bad news’ is that NAEP is given to only a sample of pupils across the nation. That sample does not allow comparisons from one district to another, or even a district to compare itself over time. Some states also lack sufficient numbers of sampled students to achieve statistical reliability. Thus, parents, politicians, and the public are at the mercy of game-playing state-testing programs – such as in Arizona (my state).

      • Ze'ev Wurman says:

        I believe you are wrong. NAEP is, indeed, given to a sample of students (and every student gets only a *part* of the items) but those are *representative samples. Consequently, one *can* create an equivalence translation between NAEP and every state standard and, with that, you can translate every school and school district onto a uniform scale. That’s how that globalreprtcard above is essentially done.

        But, as I said, it has anything but “massive benefit” anyway.A nice-sounding excuse for pushing common core, but a bullshit one nevertheless..

      • The pupils may be representative samples of a state, however, the sample sizes derived from a specific district involved rarely, if ever, are representative of a district and allow generalizations for that district. Thus, the lack of district-level reports.

      • Ze'ev Wurman says:

        You are wrong. But rather than engage in endless discussion, why don’t you read up about NAEP methodology instead.

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