Publications

Publications
"Do High Flyers Maintain Their Altitude? Performance Trends of Top Students," is the first study to examine the performance of America's highest-achieving children over time at the individual-student level. Produced in partnership with the Northwest Evaluation Association, it finds that many high-achieving students struggle to maintain their elite performance over the years and often fail to improve their reading ability at the same rate as their average and below-average classmates. The study raises troubling questions: Is our obsession with closing achievement gaps and "leaving no child behind" coming at the expense of our "talented tenth" and America's future international competitiveness? Read on to learn more.
Any number of organizations are offering advice about what to teach schoolchildren about the events of September 11, 2001, yet (unlike that day's murderous pilots) most sorely miss the mark. Fordham's publication, "Teaching about 9/11 in 2011: What Our Children Need to Know," highlights the danger of slighting history and patriotism in the rush to teach children about tolerance and multiculturalism. It combines ten short essays by distinguished educators, scholars, and public officials from our 2003 report, "Terrorists, Despots, and Democracy: What Our Children Need to Know," essays that feel more timely than ever, and includes a new introduction by Chester E. Finn, Jr. reflecting on how the lessons of these essays apply today.
Ohio adopted the Common Core standards in ELA and math in June 2010, but now stands at a crossroad in making sure statewide assessments are aligned to those standards. Ohio is a participating member in two federally funded assessment consortia—the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC)--but is a decision-maker in neither. This primer outlines both consortia and suggests that Ohio make a decision soon to begin the massive reboot required to realign assessments, professional development, and accountability systems to match the Common Core.
To what extent have Ohio's leaders met the challenges and opportunities before them in K-12 education? What needs to happen next?
Reviewers evaluated state standards for U.S. history in grades K-12. What they found is discouraging: Twenty-eight states—a majority—deserve D or F grades for their academic standards in this key subject. The average grade across all states is a dismal D. Among the few bright spots, South Carolina earns a straight A for its standards and six other jurisdictions—Alabama, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia—garner A-minuses. (The National Assessment's "framework" for U.S. history also fares well.) Read on to learn how your state scored.
Each year the Thomas B. Fordham Institute conducts an analysis of urban school performance in Ohio. We found that in 2009-10, 26 percent of public school students (district and charter) in Ohio's Big 8 urban communities attended a school rated A or B by the state, 28 percent attend a C-rated school, and 47 percent attended a school rated D or F.
This study weighed existing state education standards against the Common Core education standards. The findings? The Common Core standards were clearer and more rigorous than English language arts standards in 37 states and math standards in 39 states.
The Fordham Institute's expert reviewers have analyzed the draft Common Core K-12 education standards (made public on March 10) according to rigorous criteria. Their analyses lead to a grade of A- for the draft mathematics standards and B for those in English language arts. Read on to find out more.
Brookings scholar Tom Loveless examines tracking and detracking in Massachusetts middle schools, focusing on changes that have occurred and the implications for high-achieving students. Among the findings: detracked schools have fewer advanced students in math than tracked schools and detracking is more popular in schools serving disadvantaged populations.
Expert reviewers appraise the Common Core drafts -- which outline college and career readiness standards in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and in math -- and also evaluate the reading/writing and math frameworks that undergird the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA). How strong are these well-known models?

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