Coverage of the new Global Report Card (GRC) that Josh McGee and I developed is gaining steam. The GRC allows users to compare student achievement in virtually every one of the nearly 14,000 school districts in the United States against the achievement in a set of 25 developed countries.
There are an endless number of interesting stories that could be told with this information, but the one that really stood out to us is that achievement in many of our affluent suburban public school districts barely keeps pace with that of the average student in a developed country. People who flee from urban education ills thinking that their children will get a top world-class education in the suburbs may be disappointed. The suburban education is usually better than in the city, but it would may not be preparing students to compete for top paying jobs in an a globalized jobs market.
We highlighted this result in an article in the forthcoming issue ofEducation Next, “When the Best is Mediocre.” The methodological appendix for the GRC can be found here. In addition, Education Next has a video interview and a podcast discussing this research.
In addition to the discussion of the GRC in Education Next, here is the media coverage to date:
Wall Street Journal (video interview)
Arkansas Democrat Gazette (subscription required)
Roll Call (article by Morton Kondracke)
In addition, a number of bloggers wrote about the Global Report Card, including:
The last blog post contained some criticisms about whether the assumptions for the analysis were reasonable. Josh McGee replied in the comment section of that post. And NCES Commissioner, Jack Buckley, told Education Week that ”The methodology in this report is highly questionable.” This assessment is a little strange because what we did was similar to what the U.S. Department of Education has done in several past reports linking international test results to state NAEP results. (See for example this.) We just bring the results down to the district level. If ours is highly questionable, then the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts must be at least questionable.
As we write in the methodological appendix:
We make no claims that this Global Report Card is a perfect reflection of school district student achievement relative to international norms. The question is whether the limitations of the Global Report Card are acceptable for a first attempt. In essence, we want to know whether we have more information with the Global Report Card than we would have were it never developed and publicized.