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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Should student test scores be used to evaluate teachers? by Cara Erenben, Contributing Editor

"Today's story discusses a Bill & Melinda Gates study that finds that the so-called value-added model is a good measure of teacher effectiveness, especially when it is combined with other measures. The findings have stirred up the debate over whether student test scores should be used in evaluating teachers.", writes Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor, eSchool News.

The report, entitled “Learning About Teaching: Initial Findings from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project,” reportedly gives the strongest evidence to date of the validity of the value-added model as a tool to measure teacher.

What is the value-added model?

Photo: eSchool News
Value-added is a controversial statistical method that relies on test-score data to determine a teacher’s effectiveness. Each student’s performance on past standardized tests is used to predict how he or she will perform in the future. Any difference between the student’s projected result and how the student actually scores is the estimated “value” that the teacher has added or subtracted during the year.

The value-added model is thought to bring objectivity to teacher evaluations, because it compares students to themselves over time and largely controls for influences outside teachers’ control, such as poverty and parental involvement.

Related link
Measures of Effective Teaching Project

Source: eSchool News