Search results for: "Value-Added"

Paul Thomas follows Anthony Cody’s previously cited post by describing the unrelenting attack on teachers, which has intensified with the use of statistically inappropriate measures.

He writes:

“As Cody notes above, however, simultaneously political leaders, the media, and the public claim that teachers are the most valuable part of any student’s learning (a factually untrue claim), but that high-poverty and minority students can be taught by those without any degree or experience in education (Teach for America) and that career teachers no longer deserve their profession—no tenure, no professional wages, no autonomy, no voice in what or how they teach.

And while the media and political leaders maintain these contradictory narratives and support these contradictory policies, value-added methods (VAM) of evaluating and compensating U.S. public teachers are being adopted, again simultaneously, as the research base repeatedly reveals that VAM is yet another flawed use of high-stake accountability and testing.”

Thomas cites review after review to demonstrate that VAM is inaccurate and deeply flawed. Yet the evidence is ignored and VAM is being used as a political weapon by the odd bedfellows of the Obama administration and rightwing governors as well as some Democratic governors, like Andrew Cuomo of New York and Dannell Malloy of Connecticut, to attack teachers. President Obama made a point of praising the Chetty study in his 2012 State of the Union address, not waiting for the many reviews that showed the error of measuring teacher quality by test scores.

Thomas writes:

“The rhetoric about valuing teachers rings hollow more and more as teaching continues to be dismantled and teachers continue to be devalued by misguided commitments to VAM and other efforts to reduce teaching to a service industry.

“VAM as reform policy, like NCLB, is sham-science being used to serve a corporate need for cheap and interchangeable labor. VAM, ironically, proves that evidence does not matter in education policy.”

Race to the Top placed a $4.45 Billion bet that the way to improve schools was to tie teachers’ evaluations to their students’ test scores.

As it happens, the state of Tennessee has been using value-added assessment for 20 years, though the stakes have not been as high as they are now.

What can we learn from the Tennessee experience. According to Andy Spears of the Tennessee Education Report, well, gosh, sorry: nothing.

Spears has a list of lessons learned. Here are the key takeaways:

“4. Tennessee has actually lost ground in terms of student achievement relative to other states since the implementation of TVAAS.

Tennessee received a D on K-12 achievement when compared to other states based on NAEP achievement levels and gains, poverty gaps, graduation rates, and Advanced Placement test scores (Quality Counts 2011, p. 46). Educational progress made in other states on NAEP [from 1992 to 2011] lowered Tennessee’s rankings:

• from 36th/42 to 46th/52 in the nation in fourth-grade math[2]

• from 29th/42 to 42nd/52 in fourth-grade reading[3]

• from 35th/42 to 46th/52 in eighth-grade math

• from 25th/38 (1998) to 42nd/52 in eighth-grade reading.

5. TVAAS tells us almost nothing about teacher effectiveness.

While other states are making gains, Tennessee has remained stagnant or lost ground since 1992 — despite an increasingly heavy use of TVAAS data.

So, if TVAAS isn’t helping kids, it must be because Tennessee hasn’t been using it right, right? Wrong. While education policy makers in Tennessee continue to push the use of TVAAS for items such as teacher evaluation, teacher pay, and teacher license renewal, there is little evidence that value-added data effectively differentiates between the most and least effective teachers.

In fact, this analysis demonstrates that the difference between a value-added identified “great” teacher and a value-added identified “average” teacher is about $300 in earnings per year per student. So, not that much at all. Statistically speaking, we’d call that insignificant. That’s not to say that teachers don’t impact students. It IS to say that TVAAS data tells us very little about HOW teachers impact students.”

Read the whole article.

It is one of the best, most sensible things you will read on value-added assessment. It is a shame that Tennessee has wasted more than $300 million in search of the magic metric that identifies the “best” teachers. It is ridiculous that Congress and the U.S. Department of Education wasted nearly $5 billion to do the same thing, absent any evidence at all. Just think how many libraries they might have kept open, how many health clinics they could have started, how many early childhood programs initiated, how many class sizes reduced for needy kids.

But let’s not confuse the DOE with actual evidence when they have hunches to go on.

E.D. Hirsch, Jr., the founder of the Core Knowledge curriculum, wrote an article opposing value-added teacher evaluation, especially in reading. Hirsch supports the Common Core but thinks it may be jeopardized by the rush to test it and tie the scores to teacher evaluations. He knows this will encourage teaching to the test and other negative consequences.

Hirsch believes that if teachers teach strong subject matter, their students will do well on the reading tests. But he sees the downside of tying test scores to salary and jobs.

He writes:

“The first thing I’d want to do if I were younger would be to launch an effective court challenge to value-added teacher evaluations on the basis of test scores in reading comprehension. The value-added approach to teacher evaluation in reading is unsound both technically and in its curriculum-narrowing effects. The connection between job ratings and tests in ELA has been a disaster for education.”

He is right. Will the so-called reformers who recently became Hirschians listen?

Data hounds continue to search for a measuring stick to identify teacher quality.

They can’t believe they are on a fruitless hunt, like trying to find a barometer or yardstick to say which piece of art is best, which doctor is best, which…… as though human judgment means nothing.

Here is Matt Di Carlo summarizing the research on the instability of VAM, meaning that the best teacher this year might be only average next year, or vice versa.

A little known group called Educators for Shared Accountability designed a rubric for evaluating Secretaries of Education. It incorporates multiple measures.

By its metric, Richard Riley was our best national leader.

Check out Secretary Duncan’s value added rating.

The New York City teacher evaluations were released, and there was nearly no media coverage.

Mayor Bloomberg noticed. Ad Peter Goodman points out on his blog,

“The mayor didn’t like the original law, didn’t like the law which protected teachers from the public release of the scores and doesn’t like the requirement that the details of the plan must be negotiated with the collective bargaining agent, the union.

“On his weekly radio program he made it clear – he has no intention of negotiating a plan – he’ll accept the $250 million cut in state funding unless the union succumbs to all his preconditions. Apparently he “forgot” that the current law prohibits the release of the scores.”

Goodman checked with principals and teachers and they seemed genuinely puzzled by the ratings.

They don’t know what they mean or how they are supposed to help.

“UFT President Mulgrew announced that 6% of teachers were rated “ineffective” and 9% rated “highly effectively.” In order to be charged a teacher must be rated “ineffective” on their overall score or on the VAM and “locally negotiated” section for two consecutive years. When we consider the “instability” of the scores – wide year to year variation – the percentage of teachers impacted will be quite low.”

So very few teachers will be found ineffective, and anyone who is discharged on the basis of these flawed metrics is likely to sue.

Think of the hundreds of millions wasted on this junk science and how the money might have been used to improve schools.

Linda Darling-Hammond and Edward Haertel of Stanford University explain why value-added assessment doesn’t work and how inaccurate it is.

Will John Deasy listen? Will the Gates Foundation listen?

Will the Los Angeles Times, which published their article, stop seeking names to publish inaccurate data about teacher “effectiveness”?

The Los Angeles Times (!) has an outstanding article by reporter Teresa Watanabe about the new teacher evaluation system. It is based on growth in test scores and on computer modeling. The focus is on one teacher who seems to do all the right things: last year, he got a good rating but not this year. What changed? Nothing.

The United Teachers of Los Angeles has been fighting the LAUSD’s efforts to impose this flawed system on all teachers.

Eventually, after we have spent billions of dollars on these mechanical systems, the policymakers will figure out that the experts were right: the ratings reflect who is taught, not teacher quality.

Remember: no other nation in the world is judging teacher quality this way. This is our own nutty idea. It’s main accomplishment: demoralization of teachers.

Poor Tom Friedman! Everyone who knows anything at all about education knows that Tom has egg all over his face. They are either angry at him or laughing at him. He made such a fool of himself with his over-the-top (the same one we are racing to) praise of Race to the Top. If he had ever talked to a real educator, he would have not have praised Race to the Top. Instead, he would have written about Libya or Syria. But, no, he chose to act like Arne Duncan’s PR flack, repeating Arne’s favorite lines and doing no fact-checking.

Fortunately we have EduShyster, who has done the fact-checking. The result of this laborious activity is that E.S. is worried that both Tom Friedman and Arne Duncan have extremely low value-added scores. Before long, both may be replaced by someone young, innovative, and data-driven.

From a reader in Maine:

I’ve always thought that teachers should suggest a better approach–Getting a percentage of their students’ incomes after high school graduation.  The logic is that teachers who add value will produce students who make more money; therefore, to align incentives property, the teachers should get a cut of the incomes from their graduates.

Just think how much Steve Jobs’s estate owes California’s teachers! :-)

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