For the RF evaluation, some bruising from the Buckeye State

Ohio AG Marc Dann isn't the only one coming in for a beating. Take a look at this analysis of the recent Reading First interim evaluation study from Dr. James Salzman, the co-director of the Ohio Reading First Center.

To paraphrase Mark Twain: There are lies, damned lies, and the latest Reading First report. The report is methodologically flawed, statistically glamorous, and ultimately meaningless in terms of its conclusions. It's caused the usual sharks to roil the waters as if chum were being served. And in the end, it says nothing about the positive impact of Reading First in Ohio.

Makes Fordham's critique of the evaluation and defense of the program seem dispassionate and reserved. The key Ohio points:

- Students in Ohio have gained more than a year's reading achievement for each year that they are in the program....If students stay within the program, they are able to catch up to benchmark scores in fluency, even though they start significantly behind.

- Students have closed the gap on state performance on the third grade Ohio Achievement Test (OAT) over the past four years.

- Teachers have helped students close the achievement gap for students of color.

- Equally importantly, Westat's (2008) independent evaluation of Reading First Ohio has documented that the more time that students spend in Reading First schools the more they outperformed their peers in comparison schools across the state.

A message to my friend Russ Whitehurst (Institute for Educational Sciences director): Whenever you'd like to post a response to these critiques, this blog's all yours.

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