Debate: Are Math and Reading Test Scores Reliable Indicators of School Quality?

The school choice tent is much bigger than it used to be. Politicians and policy wonks across the ideological spectrum have embraced the principle that parents should get to choose their children’s schools and local districts should not have a monopoly on school supply.

ednext-may16-blog-debate-greene-petrilliBut within this big tent there are big arguments about the best way to promote school quality. Some want all schools to take the same tough tests and all low-performing schools (those that fail to show individual student growth over time) to be shut down (or, in a voucher system, to be kicked out of the program). Others want to let the market work to promote quality and resist policies that amount to second-guessing parents.

In the following debate, Jay Greene of the University of Arkansas’s Department of Education Reform and Mike Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute explore areas of agreement and disagreement around this issue of school choice and school quality. In particular, they address the question: Are math and reading test results strong enough indicators of school quality that regulators can rely on them to determine which schools should be closed and which should be expanded—even if parental demand is inconsistent with test results?

See the full series here:

1. Jay Greene: The Weak Predictive Power of Test Scores

2. Mike Petrilli: Shut Bad Schools for Low Performance, But Don’t Draw Conclusions from Test Scores Alone

3. Jay Greene: Rely on Local Actors, Instead of Faulty Information, To Make Judgments about School Quality

4. Mike Petrilli: Test Score Gains Predict Long-Term Outcomes, So We Shouldn’t Be Too Shy About Using Them

5. Jay Greene: Regulators Need To Use Test Scores With Great Care

6. Mike Petrilli: Test Score Gains Predict Long-Term Outcomes, So We Shouldn’t Be Too Shy About Using Them

—Education Next

This series first appeared on Flypaper.

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