Sunday, December 05, 2004

NCLB

Thank you Carla for collaborating to set up this Blog. I am impressed by the quality of the interface and the ease of accessibility.

California school districts are a conduit for No Child Left Behind funds, but are often captive to the complexities of each Title or entitlement. I see no clear evidence that funding for technology or school improvement funds are being directed by the Federal Department of Education into the logistics of technology or computer aided instruction.

You raise a good point Carla when you suggested that NCLB affords little leeway for research or is limited by the strictly experimental research designs required by NCLB.
I have found that NCLB is often directed by “regulations” provided by the White House and these regulations supercede NCLB directives and is see little effort for the use of research to drive NCLB practices.

One area of hope for the capturing of technology funds is through some of our state and local program improvement initiatives that use NCLB funding. Perhaps we should look into the districtwide technology plans for schools who have insisted that Professional Staff Development include the use of instructional technology? Several of the NCLB Titles permit the purchase of instructional materials for their targeted students, such as Migrant Education and English Language Development Initiatives. Each of these Titles permits the use of programs that will improve student achievement.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Educational Technology and NCLB

It appears that technology does not have a priority in the current US Department of Education. The "What Works" Clearinghouse (http://www.whatworks.ed.gov/) doesn't even list technology under the "topics" section. I find it particularly interesting that so many studies are listed under the "interventions" menu as "does not meet evidence screens." Generally, there's a statement like "Does not use a strong causal design: This study, which used a quasi-experimental design, did not use equating measures to ensure that the comparison group was equivalent to the treatment group." My question is - is our research on student learning valid when limited by the strictly experimental research designs required by NCLB? Is it possible to have control groups and random selection when dealing with human subjects coming from all types of backgrounds, environments, experiences who are attempting to function in a very unpredictable and unmanageable public school classroom under the guidance of teachers limited by their own prejudices, intellects, experience, talents, etc.? Then - to top it off - we measure success strictly by using standardized test instruments that we know mean very little when it comes to measuring critical thinking, creativity, innovation, etc.