Guide to Evaluation Products

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Evaluation Product Type:
Value-Added Models

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This type of evaluation
  • Provides a summary score of the contribution of various factors toward growth in student achievement. The statistical models are complex, but the underlying assumptions are straightforward: Students' prior achievement on standardized tests can be used to predict their achievement in a specific subject the next year. When most students in a particular classroom perform better than predicted on standardized achievement tests, the teacher is credited with being effective, but when most of his or her students perform worse than predicted, the teacher may be deemed less effective.
  • Considers different types of data. Some models take into account only students' prior achievement scores; others include student characteristics (e.g., gender, race, and socioeconomic background); and still others include information about teachers' experience.

Strengths of This Evaluation Type

This type of evaluation
  • Provides a way to single out a teacher's contribution to student learning, which most measures do not.
  • Requires no classroom visits because linked student and teacher data can be analyzed at a distance.
  • Entails little burden at the classroom or school level because most of the data they use is already collected in accordance with the provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.
  • Can be useful for identifying both outstanding teachers whose classrooms can serve as “learning labs” and struggling teachers in need of support.

Cautions on This Evaluation Type

  • Vertical test alignment is assumed (i.e., tests essentially measure the same thing from grade to grade).
  • Value-added scores are not useful for formative purposes because teachers learn nothing about how their practices contribute to (or impede) student learning.
  • Value-added measures are controversial because they measure only teachers’ contributions to student achievement gains on standardized tests.

Evaluation Products

Legend: Combination Models