Many people assume that value-added assessment started with Race to the Top.
Value-added assessment or value-added modeling means judging teachers by how much students scores went up.
Actually, it started in the 1980s, when William Sanders, an agricultural statistician in Tennessee, claimed that it was possible to measure student growth the way he was accustomed to measure the growth of plants, with the teacher as the independent variable.
In Dallas, at about the same time, a group of school district statisticians developed their own model to measure teacher effectiveness.
You would think that by now Tennessee and Dallas would be leading the nation, having figured out this stuff that the Obama administration has imposed on the nation. But they are not.
New York City started experimenting with a value-added model not long after Bloomberg took control. Marc Epstein, then a teacher at Jamaica High School, figured out that what the city was doing was shifting responsibility for learning from the student to the teacher. It seemed benign at the time. Now we can see this idea sweeping the nation, demoralizing teachers and turning schooling into a data-driven environment where learning becomes a numbers game. Anyone can play.
Marc, who holds a Ph.D. in Japanese naval history, is now a member of the large group of teachers in New York City called ATR (absent teacher reserve). His school was closed, through no fault of his own or any other faculty member. So with his long experience and deep knowledge of history, he floats from school to school. He is too expensive. A school can hire two young teachers in place of his salary. New York City’s Department of Education would prefer to keep teachers like him as ATR–collecting a salary without a real assignment–because…sorry, I can’t recall the reason. Maybe they hope he will go away, along with the hundreds or thousands of other teachers that have been displaced by a policy of closing schools and allowing new schools to maximize their budget by excluding veteran teachers.