If you try to keep up with whether teachers should be evaluated based on their students’ performance by using value-added models your head is probably spinning from all the conflicting conclusions. On one hand, researchers say value-added results are too imprecise to accurately evaluate teachers. While on the other had, another group of researchers claim using value-added results are better than how we evaluate teachers now.
So what are school board members and other policymakers to make of these conflicting findings?
Well, a report released today by NSBA’s Center for Public Education helps makes sense of it all even for the non-researcher. Their report– Building a Better Evaluation System: Can value-added models be used in evaluations? –delves into the limitations of current teacher evaluation systems as well as into the conflicting research on using student achievement to evaluate teachers to help school board members and other policymakers make more informed decisions on how to best evaluate teachers. The report came to these general conclusions:
- Current teacher evaluation systems are lacking: Research shows that less than 1 percent of teachers nationwide earn unsatisfactory’ ratings even though by all accounts more teachers fall into this category.
- Value-added models have their flaws but they are better than what are in place now: Value-added results may misidentify some effective teachers as ineffective and vise versa but they are more accurate than the current system that identifies both effective and ineffective teachers as satisfactory’.
- Similar statistical measures are used effectively to evaluate employees in other industries: Other professionals are evaluated based on similarly imprecise statistical measures.
- There are ways to improve value-added models: There are tools available to make value-added results more accurate such as averaging results over multiple years.
- Multiples measures that include value-added results provide the fullest picture of a teacher’s actual effectiveness: Value-added measures should be just one tool in determining a teacher’s true effectiveness. Other measures of teachers effectiveness should also be used as part of comprehensive evaluation system that is not only used for personnel decisions but to help all teaches improve as well.
Of course the report provides a wealth of information for school board members when considering including student results in evaluating teachers so be sure check out the full report on the Center’s website at www.centerforpubliceducation.org.