In today’s SMH, senior education bureaucrat (and Sydney University adjunct professor) Paul Brock critiquesÂ my study with Chris Ryan. Here’s his oped, and here’s a news story reporting on it. There are a few errors (a.Â I’m described as the sole author of the study;Â b. although we look at numeracy data up until 2003, the oped wrongly says “He produces no 1999-2008 data.”; c. although we extensively discuss comparability of tests over time, the oped wrongly implies that we ignore the issue).
But these areÂ relativelyÂ small quibbles. What interests me most is Brock’s contention that NSW data can be used to track performance over time. I had always thought that changes in the questions from year to year made this impossible, and that the benchmarking process failed to correct for this (eg. by using item response theory). Does anyone know the degree to which the state testing regimes used over the past decade do in fact permit accurate comparisons over time?
An aside: This is the second time that a Sydney University ed school academic has critiqued a joint study of mine without referring to Chris Ryan (here’s John Hughes, writing with Mercurius Goldstein). Now I’m beginning to wonder – do they really like Chris, or dislike me? Or does it have something to do with the fact that my mother did her PhD in education at Sydney Uni?