The US educational system has been criticized heavily as there is a gap between secondary and post-secondary education. One of the major concerns is associated with graduates’ inability or rather poor readiness to enter a higher educational facility (Nelson et al. 199). The development of assessment standards has been one of the strategies aimed at addressing this problem. The Obama Administration emphasized the value of data in the development of the educational system (U.S. Department of Education “Persistent Disparities Found Through Comprehensive Civil Rights Survey”). The updates introduced to the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 reflect this focus on research (U.S. Department of Education “Every Student Succeeds Act”). New assessment programs were developed, and old ones received additional funding. In order to improve assessment quality, peer review has also been one of the methods employed (“Every Student Succeeds Act” 3). This aspect of the policy can be considered and enhanced, which will contribute to the development of the educational system of the USA.
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The Importance of Peer Review
President Trump has criticized the educational system for several years focusing on the federal supervision. The Trump Administration has announced their plans to reduce the federal involvement in educational spheres of states and communities (Green). The major argument of opponents of federal supervision is associated with peculiarities of states and communities (Green). It is often stressed that the federal government cannot know about the needs of communities so no interference can be tolerated.
However, this might have a negative influence on the development of the educational sphere. Federal supervision has already proved to be effective as it is associated with the increase in funding, improved academic achievement, and the identification of the most persistent gaps. Federal assessment has enabled educators and policymakers to unveil the gaps between different groups within the American population (Nelson et al. 192). Major disparities received considerable attention, and various programs addressing these issues have led to positive changes.
It is possible to note that federal supervision can be harmful especially when it comes to the curriculum as it can be difficult to evaluate particular needs of communities at a specific period. Assessment is also an area that needs specific consideration since it is associated with students’ preparedness to continue education or start their career paths. Peer review can become the mediator between the two possible solutions. It is possible to decrease federal supervision to a certain extent while peer review should be expanded significantly.
The use of peer review in achievement assessment, as well as the evaluation of educational facilities’ performance, has enabled educators to improve the provided educational services (Parker Boudett & Moody 14). Teachers and administrators involved in the assessment process create groups that develop certain standards as well as evaluate different facilities’ performance. This collaboration involves sharing ideas, the development of new strategies and methods, the collection of data, and the implementation of studies.
Statement and Recommendations
Peer review can become even more effective if it is a nationwide practice supported financially and methodologically. Peer-review teams should receive federal funds; other resources should come from communities and state budgets. The Every Student Succeeds Act includes certain provisions concerning the allocation of financial support for various programs. The allocation of funds can be slightly modified. It is also possible to introduce grants that could be given to communities that perform better or outperform other in terms of certain standards.
As for the methodological support, the federal government can help states and communities develop certain evaluation standards. The federal government can also become a hub where major data can be analyzed and shared. The data collection is an important strategy contributing to the development of effective strategies and methods (Nelson et al. 387). However, communities often have their own databases, and access is usually given to a limited circle of stakeholders. The federal government receives a certain amount of data. Another portion of information can be shared and analyzed by peer-review community groups.
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Access to quite a significant amount of valuable information and possible outcomes of evaluation makes it reasonable to make sure that peer-review groups include people who understand their responsibilities and the impact of their work. Hence, it can be beneficial to introduce certain certification to make sure that peer-review groups consist of high-quality professionals committed to achieving particular goals. The groups should include educators and administrators who are currently working to make sure that they are aware of the existing trends and peculiarities of the educational sphere.
It is also important to note that peer-review groups will be involved in the process of data collection and achievement assessment. For example, these groups will evaluate the validity of data provided by educational establishments. It has been acknowledged that some facilities provide distorted data (U.S. Department of Education “Persistent Disparities Found Through Comprehensive Civil Rights Survey”). The certified peer-review groups can receive access to some data of educational facilities. They can also check the data consistency with similar information available from other resources (community databases, governmental databases, non-governmental organizations’ databases, etc.).
The assessment of schools’ achievement can be implemented in different ways. One of the aspect to pay attention to is students’ academic performance, school students’ enrollment in higher-educational facilities, and the like. It is also critical to evaluate the diversity and students’ access to resources. One of the primary goals of the Obama Administration was the decrease in the gap between the majority and minority groups (U.S. Department of Education “Every Student Succeeds Act”). This area is likely to remain quite important during Donald Trump’s presidency as well. Therefore, peer-review groups should assess this aspect to evaluate schools. The faculty’s achievement, performance, and commitment should also be under analysis. Peer-review groups will consider educators’ and administrators’ performance, their participation in various programs and projects, their involvement in community projects, and so on.
In conclusion, it is necessary to note that the Every Student Succeeds Act involves some provisions concerning peer review in the educational sphere. This area should receive more attention and funding. Trump Administration’s focus on the decrease of the federal supervision can be harmful in terms of the development of peer review. The federal government can provide the necessary financial and methodological support. Peer-review groups can also benefit from the use of a federal database where some data are stored. Peer review has proved to be effective and beneficial for the development of the educational sphere. Therefore, it is important to continue using this method. The use of peer review will require relatively small investment as the federal budget, state budget, community, non-governmental organizations can provide resources to fund peer-review groups.
“Every Student Succeeds Act.” n.d., Web.
Green, E. L. “Trump Orders Review of Education Policies to Strengthen Local Control.” The New York Times. 2017, Web.
Nelson, Jack L., et al. Critical Issues in Education: Dialogues and Dialectics. 8th ed., Waveland Press, 2017.
Parker Boudett, K., and Moody, L. “Organizing for Collaborative Work.” Data Wise: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Assessment Results to Improve Teaching and Learning, edited by Parker Boudett et al., Harvard Education Press, 2013, pp. 13-34.
U.S. Department of Education. “Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).” U.S. Department of Education, n.d., Web.
U.S. Department of Education. “Persistent Disparities Found Through Comprehensive Civil Rights Survey Underscore Need for Continued Focus on Equity, King Says.” U.S. Department of Education. 2016, Web.