Teachers take value-added to court

The courts may decide whether students’ test score gains are a fair way to judge teachers, note the Hechinger Report.

In what may be among the first of many lawsuits over the new evaluations—which have been adopted by multiple states—the Florida teachers union is challenging the state’s use of test scores in decisions about which teachers are fired and which receive pay raises. The Florida Education Association argues the system violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses.

Everyone agrees that value-added measures, which compare students’ performance with a teacher to their past performance, aren’t entirely reliable. But are they good enough?

About one-quarter of effective teachers may be misidentified as ineffective, concludes a paper by Dan Goldhaber of the University of Washington-Bothell, and Susanna Loeb, of Stanford. “The error rates,” they write, “appear to be quite high.”

And, yet, traditional methods of evaluating teachers, such as “cursory classroom observations, pass rates on licensure tests and degrees earned” are even less reliable.

“Flawed as they are, value-added measures appear to be better predictors of student achievement than the teacher characteristics that we currently use,” the researchers write.

“Ultimately, employment decisions need only be based on evaluation systems that are sufficiently valid, not perfect,” they conclude.

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  1. Florida resident says:

    Yesterday I was helping my wife to prepare certain food, and as a result I was able to watch (in the process) John F. Stossel’s show on Fox News Channel,
    He is a reasonably good entertainer.
    The topic of the show was Teacher Unions, Charter schools, Education etc.

    All the participants: Stossel himself, guests, “audience” asking well-rehearsed “questions”,
    behaved as if “The Blank Slate” dogma is well established
    and can not be doubted in any way:
    ***All kids are born into this world as identical Blank Slates,
    on which parents, teachers, culture, religion, society, etc.
    will inscribe all the qualities deemed necessary. ***
    “Schools of this kind” did “this” to our kids, “schools of some other kind” can do “that” to our kids.

    As if the “This steel-producing plant” does “this” to “standardized ore”, while “Other steel-producing plant” does “that” to “standardized ore”, producing better quality steel, thanks to using more advanced technology.


    With invariable respect of heroic job done by Ms. Jacobs,
    Your F.r.