Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Otherwise Instructed: Issues in Education

Two articles by Nicky Hardenbergh of Massachusetts, stored on her site

Validity of high stakes standardized test requirements for homeschoolers: a psychometric analysis (.pdf copy of the 2008 paper)

From the paper:
In this paper, I demonstrate, through reference to the extensive psychometric literature, that the psychometric tool prescribed in current high stakes homeschool policies, a norm-referenced standardized test, is invalid for use in a high stakes testing policy. Norm-referenced test scores may not validly be used to determine if a student meets a given standard of performance.

I go on to examine another testing tool proposed by some policymakers: the state-specific high stakes criterion-referenced tests administered to public school students in every state. While theoretically valid for determining a standard of performance, such tests would be problematic for use in the homeschooling context. I end by reviewing the setting of cut points on high stakes tests, showing that, to a very large extent, the entire controversy of high stakes testing can be reduced to the question of the validity of the cut point.

After considering the psychometric evidence, I conclude that current and proposed high stakes standardized requirements for homeschoolers are baseless. Policies based on such requirements are a waste of taxpayer dollars and a needless imposition on homeschooling families.

Through the Lens of Homeschooling: A Response to Michael Apple and Rob Reich (.pdf copy of the September 2004 paper)

From the paper:
Michael Apple and Rob Reich speculate that the practice of homeschooling will have negative consequences for our society. Apple contends homeschooling contributes to the “withering” of our “very sense of public responsibility,” and Reich speaks of “the civic perils of homescholing.” Michael Apple is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin, and Rob Reich is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Ethics in Society at Stanford University. Both men were scheduled as participants in a panel discussion held at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association. The session was entitled, "Educational Choice versus Civic Responsibility: Are Home Schoolers Embracing Their Responsibilities or Fleeing from Them?” I wrote this article in anticipation of their participation on that panel. The other two panel members were Scott Somerville, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and Brian Ray, founder of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI).

A copy of this paper, with minor revisions, appeared in:

Homeschooling in full view -- a Reader
Edited by Bruce S. Cooper, Fordham University

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