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The reality is that there is no replacement for external, impartial, evaluative achievement data. In fact, the very reason we talk so much about the “achievement gap” today, and the reason that we are so focused on how best to close that gap—through a combination of educational and social services—is because of the hard facts that our current crop of state standardized tests has provided.

The importance of testing and the power of hard facts

When an excellent principal is hired at a high-poverty school, time for teacher training and collaboration increases, student test scores rise by 5 to 10 points annually, and ineffective teachers begin to leave—yes, even under today’s often overly restrictive tenure policies. When a good principal departs, the progress unwinds and student achievement drops. In short, principals have a unique power to multiply the effects of good teaching and help close achievement gaps.

The Most Important Figure in School Reform We Never Talk About

If you ask professional educators in a public forum whether they view parents as assets or liabilities, the answers will vary only in decibel level: ‘Assets,’ ‘Our greatest asset,’ ‘invaluable partners,’ and so forth. But what if you caught them off guard, late at night after a few drinks, say?

Or, better yet, what if you simply examined how most schools treat parents?

Assets or Liabilities?

Data gives power to teachers. If we know my child is confusing rates and ratios, a teacher can correct that one misunderstanding that is preventing progress. If we know in great detail where misconceptions are occurring, as they occur, teaching can include many such tiny just-in-time interventions for each unique student that allows that child to learn more quickly and deeply.

Please Share my Children’s Data