Quick Response From Slate To Errors Pointed Out By Sawchuk, Barnum*

Kudos to Slate and Laura Moser for correcting yesterday’s blog post about a teacher’s lawsuit against her evaluation quickly and readily — and to eagle-eyed Stephen Sawchuk (from EdWeek) and Matt Barnum (for The Seventy Four).

Shortly after the piece went live, Sawchuk and Barnum weighed in via Twitter:

Moser has been blogging for Slate about education, in addition to the reported education content that’s being provided to Slate by Sarah Carr at Columbia’s J-School through a Spencer Foundation-funded initiative for newly-minted journalism school graduates. See an archive of Moser’s writing here.  I’m hoping to interview Carr about the two-year old Spencer program later this fall. 

Moser responded immediately to the concern and now, according to the correction appended to the end of the piece: “This post originally misstated that New York uses value-added modeling. It uses student-growth percentiles. The post has been revised to clarify the difference between student-growth percentiles and value-added modeling.”

The differences between SGP and VAM are technical in nature, though they both involve statistical methods of assessing the impact of teachers’ efforts on student achievement and — in the case of the lawsuit this teacher is filing — evaluating the teacher over all.

Of course, in an ideal world readers would be told at the top of a story rather than at the bottom that the story had been corrected — via an asterisk attached to the headline or posted just below the headline. The Washington Post recently did just that.

Related posts: Washington Post Does A Correction RightA Correction Request, An Apology, & A Remaining MysteryDespite Occasional Errors, FiveThirtyEight Still a Helpful Addition. *Correction: The original headline mis-spelled Stephen Sawchuk’s name. Thanks to Evie Blad for pointing it out.

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Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.