Source: book – “I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Education Gap” by M. Night Shyamalan
Education Foundation: M. Night Shyamalan Foundation (MNS Foundation)
Methodology: Statistical analysis of thousands of educational studies, papers, articles, etc. to calculate an “effect size” for each proposed educational policy change. The effect size is a measure of statistical significance – how much policy A will improve educational performance compared to educational policy B. It is a fraction of a standard deviation, calculated by dividing the mean change between two policies by the standard deviation of the variable that differentiates the two policies.
Five “Keys” to improving our children’s education
No Roadblock Teachers
a. Impossible to identify who will be a good/bad teacher when hiring
b. Need at least 2 years observing teacher to determine good/bad
c. Firing 5%-8% of least-able teachers and replacing them with just
average teachers has an effect size of between +0.28 to + 0.42
The Right balance of Leadership
a. Strong leadership (school principals) improves the skills of the teachers in the school
b. Principals in 80th percentile have an effect size of + 0.11;
while principals in bottom 25th percentile have an effect size of - 0.15
c. Top ranked principals both fire more ineffective teachers
and improve the quality of average teachers
d. Top principals spend 80% of their time observing/coaching teachers
e. Principals set school culture
a. Purpose – to improve the performance of teachers
b. Value Added Measurement (VAM) – how much does a teacher improve a
student’s performance during the year? VAM seeks to compare
student’s predicted progress with the student’s actual progress.
c. Use “hierarchical linear modeling” to predict student’s progress.
d. Frequency of testing is key.
e. Effect size in most successful schools was +0.48 in math and +0.50 in English.
Smaller Schools (NOT smaller class sizes)
a. Small school = 400 students
b. All schools should be less than 600 students
c. Indiana school reorganization in 2000s resulted in many changes in school size.
Schools that decreased in size by 50% had an effect size of +0.25 on math scores
over 2 years.
More Time in School
a. Reducing the length of summer vacation had an effect size of +0.11
Policies that do NOT significantly improve children’s education
- Class size
a. One false-positive study – 1985 Tennessee STAR study showed smaller class size
improved performance. This study has never been replicated.
- Increased school Funding
- Pre-K education
a. Has a significant temporary effect on low income/ESL children
b. Has a small temporary effect on middle class children
c. Has almost no effect on all children by third grade
- Degrees and Salary
- School Choice
- General Accountability
Here's the book blurb from Amazon:
I Got Schooled offers a look at America’s educational achievement gap that could only have come from an outsider.
Famed director M. Night Shyamalan has long had a serious interest in education. The foundation he and his wife started once gave college scholarships to promising inner-city students, but Shyamalan realized that these scholarships did nothing to improve education for all the other students in under-performing schools. When he learned that some schools were succeeding with similar student populations, he traveled across the country to find out how they did this and whether these schools had something in common. He eventually learned that there are five keys to closing America’s achievement gap. But just as we must do several things to maintain good health— eat the right foods, exercise regularly, get a good night’s sleep—so too must we use all five keys to turn around our lowest-performing schools.
These five keys are used by all the schools that are succeeding, and no schools are succeeding without them. Before he discovered them, Shyamalan investigated some popular reform ideas that proved to be dead ends, such as smaller class size, truculent unions, and merit pay for teachers. He found that the biggest obstacle to school reform is cognitive biases: too many would-be reformers have committed themselves to false solutions.
This is a deeply personal book by an unbiased observer determined to find out what works and why so that we as a nation can fulfill our obligation to give every student an opportunity for a good education.