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Lesson 9.0

Success:
Overview of Chapter 9

Success for each student is the point of education.

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The heart of improvement is to do more of what works, less of what does not… and to know the difference. In order for America to work effectively, our schools must work effectively.

This section explores the meaning of success in education. The first step is to ask: Success for whom? Parents and teachers typically care most about success for the individual students in their care. But district, state, and community leaders are likely to care a great deal about the success of whole schools and districts, as well as the entire public education system.

Data systems make it possible to combine "outcome" information for individual students into measures of the system’s success. Doing so, however, has been harder in California than in many other states, largely for political reasons. This chapter explains why that’s the case as it explores the many ways to define and measure educational success. We have covered plenty of controversial topics already; this one might be the biggest of all. Please sign in to add your insights.

What's in this Chapter?

We convinced Jeff to narrate a short video preview of each lesson. We hope you get a kick out of the awkward expressions we captured him in...

9.1 Measures of Success: For Kids and For Schools
Systemic 'success' is meaningless unless it based on individual successes. | Pass me your report card / show me how you did / even if the class is hard / the grades DO matter, kid!
9.2 Student Success: How Well is My Kid Doing?
An 'A' grade in Mr. Lara's history class can mean something entirely different from an 'A' in Ms. Smith’s history class. How can parents know if their children are on track?
9.3 Tests: Standardized Measures of Student Learning
California's school system has a dizzying number of tests, most of which students have no reason to care about. The Early Assessment Program (EAP) test, however, provides a useful gauge of college readiness.
9.4 Student Readiness: College and Career
A student’s interest in college does not necessarily translate into action. Some programs have been shown to help, dramatically, by providing practical support with the process...
9.5 Education Data: Keeping Track of the System
When it comes to education data, California is widely considered something of a backwater. | A mess of reports / a muddle of data / It might get better... / Check back later.
9.6 Achievement Gaps: The System's Biggest Challenge
Some childhood gaps are welcome news, like that gap-tooth smile. Achievement gaps? Not so much. | Test scores are going up / and that is great good news! / ...But not enough to disrupt / the gaps between the groups.
9.7 Making the Grade: Measuring School Performance
How can you tell if a school is good? State and Federal measures are changing at the same time, and scorecards will be confusing for a while...
9.8 After High School: What California’s System Provides
Too many students take an early exit on their educational journey. Of every 100 ninth graders, the number that graduate college is...
9.9 Paying for College: High Hopes and College Loans
More than for cars/ or credit cards / it's loans for college / that stick like tar. | Are California's college tuition costs higher than other states? Just how bad is the college loan situation?

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