Flaws in the Evaluation Process

By Clayton, Mark | The Christian Science Monitor, May 23, 2000 | Go to article overview

Flaws in the Evaluation Process


Clayton, Mark, The Christian Science Monitor


The Department of Education's expert panel, assembled to find the best math programs in the United States, had a key problem, critics say. It relied heavily on studies of student achievement that were authored or co-authored by the directors of the programs themselves - or by people with close institutional or other ties to the program.

In the cases of Core-Plus Mathematics Project and the Connected Mathematics Project, a middle-school program, studies showing positive student achievement were submitted to the Department of Education's expert panel.

But neither Core-Plus nor Connected Math has yet published in a peer-reviewed journal the findings from the field-tests of their programs - though these were the primary studies supplied to the expert panel as proof the programs work.

"Peer review is essential," says Ronald Green, director of the Institute for the Study of Applied and Professional Ethics at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. "To be independent, an evaluator's judgment must not be distorted by institutional relationships or personal ties or financial considerations."

Core-Plus was one of the best of the programs reviewed, panel members say. But studies of its effectiveness were co-authored by Harold Schoen, a University of Iowa professor.

Dr. Schoen, who is listed as a co-director of the program, admits he is in line to receive royalties from the sales of Core-Plus textbooks. His studies, he says, are not motivated by the prospect of royalties, of which he has received little.

But some critics have concerns. "You simply cannot have one of your principal investigators [in a research project] also be the outside evaluator," says R. James Milgram, a Stanford University mathematician and critic.

Nobody, including research ethicists, argue that Schoen's studies are invalid. As a co-director of the program, Schoen's studies provide a valuable basis for analysis. However, experts say, his co- authorship and receipt of royalties mean his reports should require independent peer review.

Still, Schoen and Steven Leinwand, the co-chair of the expert panel, both contend that the ultimate peer review for the winning programs was the education panel's process itself.

But outsiders say this was not a true peer review. For instance, the studies and programs were not anonymous to reviewers, thus opening the door to bias, says Thomas Loveless, senior analyst at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Of 61 programs evaluated, 25 survived the quality-review process. Then, nine "impact reviewers," professional evaluators, examined supporting studies of student achievement for those programs.

Their summaries were then relied upon by the expert panel as evidence of a program's effectiveness. It was a last, critical step before voting.

Copies of the impact reviews for all 10 programs were obtained by the Monitor.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Flaws in the Evaluation Process
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.