Daniel Koretz on the Education Legacy of the Bush Administration
Daniel Koretz is the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. He focuses his research primarily on educational assessment, particularly as a tool of education policy. A primary emphasis in his work has been the effects of high-stakes testing, including effects on schooling and the validity of score gains. His research has included studies of the effects of testing programs, the assessment of students with disabilities, international differences in the variability of student achievement, the application of value-added models to educational achievement, and the development of methods for validating scores under high-stakes conditions. His current work focuses on the design and evaluation of test-focused educational accountability systems. Dr. Koretz founded and chairs the International Project for the Study of Educational Accountability, an international network of scholars investigating improved approaches to educational accountability. Dr. Koretz is a member of the National Academy of Education. His doctorate is in developmental psychology from Cornell University. Before obtaining his degree, Dr. Koretz taught emotionally disturbed students in public elementary and junior high schools.
Question: How did Bush change education policy?
Daniel Koretz: Well the effects of a [mixed] at best, the centerpiece of the administration’s policy was, of course, no child left behind in [IB] which had, I think, a few commendable goals. And for that reason, it was supported by people across the isle as well by George Miller, for instance, in the house by Teddy Kennedy. One of the goals was, as George Miller predicted, shine light in the corners, to make it very hard for schools that did well on average to hide the data if they were doing poorly with disadvantaged kids. So there was a real emphasis in proving [unimproving] equity. The problem is, in my view, it’s a very poorly crafted policy. It was a real sledgehammer. Required setting arbitrary targets many of which are unreachable by, what I would consider, legitimate means and it made test scores the end all and be all of education, it made it impossible, very difficult for teachers to consider anything but raising scores on tests.
No Child Left Behind set arbitrary goals for education, Daniel Koretz says.
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