Go slow on following Florida reforms, researcher says
Not so fast, suggests Columbia University Teachers College associate professor Madhabi Chatterji.
In a brief for the National Education Policy Center, Chatterji writes that a Heritage Foundation report touting Florida's education reforms is flawed, calling into doubt its conclusions that other states should emulate Florida. She writes, in part:
"The central analysis compares average test scores of students in the nation versus Florida without considering key group differences, an oversight that leads to erroneous causal interpretations on effects of reforms using purely descriptive data. The report further ignores group differences resulting from the state’s mandatory grade retention policy for the weakest readers in grade 3. This policy-driven increase in grade retention rates spuriously inflated the average scores of grade 4 students on state and national assessments, making racial achievement gaps narrower."