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  • (error)
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  • (error)
    User error: "post_type" is an invalid render array key in Drupal\Core\Render\Element::children() (line 98 of core/lib/Drupal/Core/Render/Element.php).
    Drupal\Core\Render\Element::children(Array, 1) (Line: 451)
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Carol C. Burris

Network for Public Education

Carol Corbett Burris became Executive Director of the Network for Public Education Foundation in August 2015, after serving as principal of South Side High School in the Rockville Centre School District in NY since 2000.  Prior to becoming a principal, she was a teacher at both the middle and high school level.  She received her doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her dissertation, which studied her district’s detracking reform in math, received the 2003 National Association of Secondary Schools’ Principals Middle Level Dissertation of the Year Award.  In 2010, she was named Educator of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State, and in 2013, she was named SAANYS New York State High School Principal of the Year.  Dr. Burris co-authored Detracking for Excellence and Equity (2008) and Opening the Common Core: How to Bring ALL Students to College and Career Readiness (2012), and authored On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the 21st Century Struggle against Re-segregation (2014). Her articles have appeared in Educational Leadership, Kappan, American Educational Research Journal, Teachers College Record, Theory into Practice, School Administrator, American School Board Journal and Education Week. She regularly expresses her concerns about the misuse and unintended consequences of high-stakes testing in the Washington Post, The Answer Sheet blog.

E-mail Carol Burris at: burriscarol@gmail.com

NEPC Publications

Review of Does Sorting Students Improve Test Scores?

Courtney A. Collins and Li Gan
Does Sorting Students Improve Scores? An Analysis of Class Composition

This National Bureau of Economic Research working paper purports to examine the extent and effects of sorting students into classrooms by test scores. It then claims to explore the effect of sorting on overall student achievement as well as on low achievers, high achievers, gifted, special education and Limited English Proficient students. The paper uses standardized Texas state test scores as the measure of learning growth. Based on a comparison between third- and fourth-grade scores, the paper concludes that sorting students by scores is associated with significant learning gains for both lower and higher achievers. It does not, however, find similar effects for the sub-groups. The paper is limited by several important methodological issues. First, it simply assumes, based on test score distributions, that the schools tracked students between classes—and this assumption is highly questionable. Second, it provides no criteria by which students were classified as high or low achievers. Finally, it measures only relative standing of students on two proficiency tests given in different years. It does not measure growth. Because of these and other weaknesses, this paper should not be used to inform policy regarding tracking or grouping practices.

NEPC Review: The Misplaced Math Student: Lost in Eighth-Grade Algebra (September 2008)

Tom Loveless
The Misplaced Math Student: Lost in Eighth-Grade Algebra

Review of The Misplaced Math Student: Lost in Eighth-Grade Algebra: The Brookings Institution report questions the efficacy of increasing the number of students who take algebra in eighth grade. Although this policy has resulted in more equitable access to advanced math study, the report argues that a subgroup of students enrolled lack the basic mathematical skills needed to succeed. The report further argues that the presence of lower achievers may weaken the instructional opportunities of highly proficient students. The report recommends that algebra placement be based on student readiness, not grade level. Although the report presents a sound case for better mathematical preparation for all students, the suggested remedy—-delaying algebra for most until “readiness” is achieved and allowing fewer students to take algebra in eighth grade—-is a flawed solution to address the problem of low achievement. A brief overview of the experience with eighth-grade algebra for all in the district where the reviewer works yields findings consistent with the report’s call for better math preparation but inconsistent with its call for fewer to take algebra in eighth grade.

Suggested Citation: Burris, Carol C. (2008). Review of “The Misplaced Math Student: Lost in Eighth-Grade Algebra.” Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Retrieved [date] from http://epicpolicy.org/thinktank/review-misplaced-math-student