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ERIC Number: ED443860
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 220
Abstractor: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-0-7619-7603-5
Bail Me Out! Handling Difficult Data and Tough Questions about Public Schools.
Bracey, Gerald W.
This guide is designed to take the mystery out of educational research data and to help educators become better, and more critical, readers of facts, figures, charts, and graphs about U.S. public schools. Educators will also become better able to answer the questions of parents, students, and the community. A brief historical look at the loss in confidence in the public schools shows how data have been used to create half-truths and erroneous positions. In addition, the most common test forms are analyzed. The chapters are: (1) "Beware of Averages"; 92) "Follow the Money"; (3) "Beware of the Uncritical acceptance of Convenient Conclusions"; (4) "Watch for Selectivity in the Data"; (5) "Show Me the Data!"; (6) "Beware of Nostalgia"; (7) "Beware of Casual Explanations Made from Correlational Data"; (8) "Be Aware of Whether the Statistics Being Used Are Numbers or Rates (Percentages)"; (9) "Know Whether You're Dealing with Ranks or Scores"; (10) "Make Sure the Statistic Used is the Right One"; (11) "Ask How the Variable Is Defined"; (12) "Ask How the Variable Is Defined--And Then Ask What the Criterion Measure Is"; (13) "Differentiate Practical and Statistical Significance"; (14) "Look for Trends, Not Snapshots"; (15) "Beware of Trends"; (16) "Ask What the Consequences Are Even If the Interpretation of the Data Is True"; (17) "Beware of Changing Demographics"; (18) "Try To 'See Through' Graphs"; (19) "Beware of Big (Small) Numbers"; (20) "Beware of Generalizations"; (21) "The Rise of Testing"; (22) "Types of Tests"; (23) "Other Indicators of Achievement"; (24)"How Come American Students Fall Farther Behind Their International Peers the Longer They Stay in School?"; (25) "Why Are Test Scores Falling?"; (26) "How Come Private Schools Do So Much Better than Public Schools?"; (27) "Why Don't We Have Vouchers so the Money Would Follow the Child?"; (28) "Why Don't We Use Charter Schools as Laboratories for Innovation for the Rest of the System?"; (29) "Why Are We Throwing Money at Schools?"; (30) "Why are SAT Scores Still Falling?"; (31) "Why Don't Bright People Go Into Teaching?"; and (32) "With All This Talk about Standards and Accountability, Why Aren't Teachers and Administrators Held Accountable?" (Contains 157 references.) (SLD)
Corwin Press, Inc., 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320 ($29.95). Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-4-1-SCHOOL; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Books; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A