Closing the Measurement Gap

October 29, 2007 1 min read

In a recent Education Week Commentary, sociologist Jennifer Booher-Jennings of Columbia University writes that the federal government endorses entirely different standards for measuring performance in medicine than it does for measuring public schools.

In rating the quality of hospitals, federal agencies make “risk adjustments” for hospitals that treat sicker patients—the idea being that that those institutions shouldn’t be penalized when more of their patients die because of factors beyond their control. But in measuring the quality of schools, no such risk adjustments are made for factors such as poverty or student mobility, Ms. Booher-Jennings contends.

What do you think? Should schools’ performance be adjusted for risk factors? If so, which risk factors would you include?

A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.