If you read Education Week’s article on Value-Added measures you are probably more than a little confused. For those of you who don’t know, Value-Added measures are statistical techniques that are used to isolate the effect schools, programs, or teachers have on the change in student achievement from one year to the next. How does BoardBuzz know this? Has BoardBuzz graduated with a PhD in statistics? No, BoardBuzz just read the Center for Public Education’s, Measuring Student Growth: A guide to informed decision making.
The Education Week article focused on the ongoing debate about the accuracy and usefulness of Value-Added models particularly when using the models on high-stakes decisions on teachers such as whether to offer tenure or salaries increases. The article highlights many of the strengths and weaknesses of using Value-Added data to make such decision but is not very clear on how the data should be used. As BoardBuzz learned from the Center’s report, Value-Added models are just one tool in making decisions particularly in evaluating teachers. Although not perfect measures, the information obtained from Value-Added models should be combined with other measures such as principal and peer evaluations to obtain a clearer understanding of how effective a teacher really is.
So if your district is considering using Value-Added or any other measure of student growth be sure to check out the Center for Public Education’s Measuring Student Growth to find out more on how growth measures should be used.