Sunday, January 29, 2006

Public-School Students Score Well in Math

NYT A large-scale government-financed study has concluded that when it comes to math, students in regular public schools do as well as or significantly better than comparable students in private schools.

After fudging the numbers to get the results they wanted.
The study, by Christopher Lubienski and Sarah Theule Lubienski, of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, compared fourth- and eighth-grade math scores of more than 340,000 students in 13,000 regular public, charter and private schools on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The 2003 test was given to 10 times more students than any previous test, giving researchers a trove of new data.

Though private school students have long scored higher on the national assessment, commonly referred to as "the nation's report card," the new study used advanced statistical techniques to adjust for the effects of income, school and home circumstances.
If you are able to decide how much to fudge the numbers based on what values you put on eiach of the circumstances, you can get any results you want.
The researchers said they compared math scores, not reading ones, because math was considered a clearer measure of a school's overall effectiveness.
And because the public school kids could not read well enough to take the reading test.
The study found that while the raw scores of fourth graders in Roman Catholic schools, for example, were 14.3 points higher than those in public schools, when adjustments were made for student backgrounds, those in Catholic schools scored 3.4 points lower than those in public schools.
And if they increased the amount the penalized students for being Christian even more, they could have made the public school figures seem even better.
A spokeswoman for the National Catholic Education Association did not respond to requests for comment.

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