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Knowledge From the Field

Value-Added Modeling: The Challenge of Measuring Educational Outcomes

Published: 2006

Publisher(s): Carnegie Corporation of New York

Author(s): Stewart, Barbara Elizabeth

Funder(s): Carnegie Corporation of New York

View Report (18 pages; 198KB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Accountability

Abstract: Value-added modeling, one of the newest developments in the nationwide push for school account­ability, is a method of measuring student academic progress over time. It uses the annual standardized test scores for individual children — administered at the beginning and the end of the school year — to plot their progress in fundamental academic skills and applies the results as a measure of the effectiveness of teachers and schools. The report outlines the system’s successes and shortfalls in appraising teacher performance.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+ A student who is assigned to a series of good teachers is more likely to succeed than one in a “better” school, in a more prosperous area, assigned several less effective teachers.

+ Value-added assessments can identify teachers and schools in well-off, high-achieving districts that are coasting and not helping adequate students go farther.

+ According to proponents of value-added modeling, it can identify teachers and schools that help students move ahead academically, whatever their starting point.

+ In one study, students taught by effective teachers scored an average of 50 points higher (on a 100 point test) than students of the least effective teachers.

= More than a dozen states, including Florida, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and California, are studying and in some cases, applying value-added modeling.

- Critics claim that the percentage of error in value-added computation can be rather high, especially when compiled with less than three years of data or when the sample size of test scores is not large enough.

Geographic Focus : National

Subjects/Keywords : Accountability; teacher quality; educational standards; academic progress; standardized test scores; school reform; teacher performance

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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