A Think Twice Review of:
Think Twice - Mar 10, 2016
Publisher/Think Tank - Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
Author(s) - Jacob L. Vigdor and Josh B. McGee
The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research launched a website, SchoolGrades.org, which aimed to provide a means to compare how well America’s schools prepare students in core subjects. The website attempts to evaluate and assign letter grades to schools using reading and math test scores. The website claims that the school grades found on the site allow parents to compare local schools against schools in other countries using a four-step process.
Reviewer(s) - Jaime L. Del Razo, Annenberg Institute for School Reform & Brown University
The review finds that the unsubstantiated norming involved in the process of creating school grades is too tenuous and the results are overly extrapolated, which diminishes their value. A technical analysis also finds that the website fails to explain how: (1) international scores are equated to a national standard created by the website; (2) letter grades are determined; and (3) free and reduced lunch counts were used to make socioeconomic adjustments. In his conclusion, reviewer Jaime L. Del Razo indicates that the site fails on two grounds; technical and philosophical. He says, “the Manhattan Institute’s website fails to advance policy not only on the technical shortcomings of its efforts but most importantly, for not appreciating the [broader] purposes of education.”