This superintendent posted a request for help. I will be posting a summary of research on value-added-measurement later today. I think it is fair to say that while economists like VAM (they measure productivity), education researchers overwhelmingly oppose VAM because they know that most of the factors affecting test scores are beyond the control of the teacher.



I am a Superintendent in Texas and I’m looking for some insight into a connection I just became aware of. The state of Texas has begun the process of revamping principal and teacher evaluations. Recently (in the last few months) the Commissioner of Education reached a compromise with the USDE about NCLB requirements. Part of the compromise required Texas to include test scores in the teacher evaluation tool.

Now I see, taken from the SEDL website (, that the states’ work on both the Principal and Teacher Evaluation systems are based on the priorities of the USDE. Unless I’m mistaken, the USDE priorities have been in place for several years. That would make the Commissioner’s “compromise” essentially a lie. He planned all along to implement a system like this. The best remedy to this kind of “in the dark” activity is sunlight.

Can anyone help explain these connections? I realize my explanation is short on details, best I believe the answers could be very enlightening when you consider the following points:
-Texas, especially our governor, has made a point of opposing EVERYTHING Washington
-Texas filed a waiver from NCLB and then pretended the result was the best it could do
– Educators are about to have an evaluation system imposed on them that will for all practical purposes, reestablish High Stakes Testing as a priority in this state by requiring student test scores be a SIGNIFICANT (emphasis TEA) portion of their evaluation

This stuff is not a coincidence, just look at the pattern of reform initiatives in other states. Its only just begun here in Texas.

My email is


This project relates to the following USDE Priorities:

Identifying, recruiting, developing, and retaining highly effective teachers and leaders
Identifying and scaling up innovative approaches to teaching and learning that significantly improve student outcomes