In this age of value-added measurement, when teachers are judged by the rise or fall of their students’ test scores, it is very dangerous to teach gifted classes. Their scores are already at the top, and they have nowhere to go, so the teacher will get a low rating. It is also dangerous to teach English language learners, students with disabilities, and troubled youth. Their scores will not go up as much as the kids in affluent districts who have no issues.

Here is what happened to one teacher of gifted students:

“As a teacher of gifted students in Florida, I can attest to the fact that you are more likely to get slammed by VAM. I was rated the worst teacher at my school, the 14th worst teacher in my district, and the 146th worst teacher in the state of Florida (out of 120,000). Previously, I had a great reputation at my school among staff, parents, and students. Now that these scores have been published on the internet, I fear that future students, parents and administrators might be influenced by my extremely negative VAM ranking. Even if they aren’t, I have to worry about being slammed by VAM two years in a row, being rated “needs improvement”, losing my job and having my teaching license revoked by the state. Funny, just two years ago I was selected to be a mentor teacher by my district in the subject that I teach. Now I’m at risk of losing my career based on VAM results of a subject I don’t teach. Thanks a lot Arne.”