6 Numbers to Watch in 2015

prediction ball

In the blogging world, it’s become obligatory to put out yearly predictions.

While I have thoughts on longer-term trends, I have no idea what will happen in any given year.

That being said, here’s numbers I’ll be watching to better understand where the long-term trends are heading.

1. Math Software Program Effects Sizes

We’re starting to see math software achieve .1-.2 effects. If these effects continue to hold-up, and they do so on rigorous math content, I’ll grow more bullish on tech based math instruction.

2. Average SAT Score of New Teachers

Research is showing that new teachers are increasingly scoring better on aptitude tests, which probably bodes well for long-term teacher effectiveness. I’m curious whether this will hold as the effects of the recession recede.

3. National Charter School Market Share

Over the past couple years, charter market share has grown between 7-10% annually. Given that millions of children attend charter schools, this pace of growth is very significant. I’m interested to see if the growth rate holds as the absolute number of students continues to increase.

4. Number of Urban Charter Markets with +40% Penetration

Urban markets should be viewed as distinct from overall national charter market share, as this is where the best charter work is occurring. In the decade, my hunch is we’ll have over ten urban markets that are majority charter. This evolution will began to call into question the very structure of public education in major cities. So I’m curious to see what progress we make on this mark in 2015 (2014 market share data here).

5. Number of States with Rigorous Assessments 

Note that I didn’t say standards, which are useless. Nor did I say PARC or Smart Balance, which are simply two types of rigorous assessments. The number I care most about is how many states implement some form of rigorous assessments. Given that I do believe assessments impact instruction, I’m eager to understand how much the Common Core push will lead to more rigorous assessments, in some form or another.

6. Teacher Union Membership

Teacher unions have been losing members. Relatedly, the number of teachers covered by collective bargaining agreements continues to drop. If this trend continues for the next decade, will likely impact the politics of education reform.

In Sum

Long-term trends in tech effectiveness, teacher quality, education governance, state assessments, and union membership will all affect the future of education in this country.

It’s worth keeping an eye on these numbers.

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