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Morgan Polikoff says enough is enough when it comes to misNAEPery

MisNAEPery: in which far too many people writing, discussing, tweeting, and/or thinking about education misuse, misconstrue, and/or misinterpret results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Education policy expert Morgan Polikoff writes on his blog about the various ways NAEP results are abused by the public, and hopes for better for the 2015 round of results.
The long and the short of it is that any stories that come out in the weeks after NAEP scores are released should be, at best, tentative and hypothesis-generating (as opposed to definitive and causal effect-claiming). And smart people should know better than to promote inappropriate uses of these data, because folks have been writing about this kind of misuse for quite a while now. Rather, the kind of NAEP analysis that we should be promoting is the kind that’s carefully done, that’s vetted by researchers, and that’s designed in a way that brings us much closer to the causal inferences we all want to make. It’s my hope that our work in the C-SAIL center will be of this type. But you can bet our results won’t be out the day the NAEP scores hit. That kind of thoughtful research designed to inform rather than mislead takes more than a day to put together (but hopefully not so much time that the results cannot inform subsequent policy decisions). It’s a delicate balance, for sure. But everyone’s goal, first and foremost, should be to get the answer right.
Morgan Polikoff is an assistant professor of education at University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. His areas of expertise include K-12 education policy; Common Core standards; assessment policy; alignment among instruction, standards and assessments; and the measurement of classroom instruction. Polikoff received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate ...

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