Wednesday, March 19, 2014

No Good Metrics??!!

The Ed Week account of a snippy meeting between Randi Weingarten, Dennis van Roekel, and the CCSSO included one quote that came roaring out at me. Randi and Dennis, bless their hearts, were just trying to deliver the news that the CCSS are not playing well in Peoria. The CCSSO, co-sponsors of the standards, were just not having it. The unions should get their people in line. The public wasn't getting the correct picture.

Melody Schopp, South Dakota Ed Secretary, was bemoaning the lack of press coverage for positive CCSS success stories. Mike Cohen, from Achieve (the accountable-to-nobody organization that helped birth, groom and market CCSS) chimed in that too much of the positive CCSS spin was anecdotal, and then let loose with this gem.

"We don't have any kind of good metrics" for measuring common-core implementation's success.

What??!! Really? Because I am pretty sure the sales pitch for CCSS involved the following:

1) See how bad our test scores are?!

2) Creating and installing CCSS will make our test scores not suck.

3) The success of CCSS will be obvious because test scores will rise.

The PARCC and SBA tests have been sold specifically on their merits as a metric for measuring the success of the CCSS. If that's not what they're measuring, why the heck are we bothering with them??

Not that I'm necessarily disagreeing with Cohen. It's possible there is no metric that could measure the success of CCSS. I can think of two possible reasons:

1) It is hard to measure the height of magical unicorns or Bigfoot.

2) It is hard to tell when a child abuse has been "successful."

But that's not the most important point-- the most important point is this:

Mr. Cohen-- if we have no metric for measuring the success of CCSS, that means we never had a metric for measuring the need for it, either.

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