Tom Loveless

Blog Posts


Ability Grouping, Tracking, and How Schools Work

Ability Grouping, Tracking, and How Schools Work

The 2013 Brown Center Report on American Education was released two weeks ago. One of the studies is on ability grouping. A key finding is that elementary teachers are using ability grouping again. Ability grouping is the practice of dividing classes into small instructional groups, especially for teaching reading. According to data collected by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the frequency of ability grouping’s use in fourth grade reading instruction rose about two and a half times, from 28 percent in 1998 to 71 percent in 2009.

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When Does a Policy Start?

When Does a Policy Start?

The question in the title should be easy to answer. Everyone knows that policies are debated and adopted by a legislative body (Congress, state legislature, or city council), signed by an executive leader (president, governor, or mayor), and then implemented by an administrative unit (federal, state, or city department). Once implemented, a policy starts.

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International Tests Are Not All the Same

International Tests Are Not All the Same

Last month, the latest results were released from the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). The scores dispelled the myth that all international tests are the same.

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Uncle Sam's Math Books

Uncle Sam's Math Books

Washington is now in the business of “helping” local authorities pick math books for elementary, middle, and high school students. In October, the Department of Education declared Five math programs “exemplary” and another five “promising.”

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