VAM is finding fewer and fewer friends once people finally discover just what it is, and more importantly what it isn’t: a fair, just and reliable method for identifying and ranking effective and ineffective teachers.
Randi Weingarten has come out in opposition to value-added modeling (VAM), the statistical measure that judges teacher quality based on the test scores of their students. This is great news! As I have often written here, VAM is Junk Science. It also is the centerpiece of Race to the Top, which makes the absurd assumption that good teachers produce higher test scores. Researchers have shown again and again that test scores–including their rise or fall–says more about who is in the class than teacher quality, and they reflect many other factors, including class size, peers, school leadership, prior teachers, curriculum, etc. Furthermore, VAM places too much emphasis on testing and leads to a narrowed curriculum, teaching to the test, gaming the system, and cheating. Teaching cannot be reduced to an algorithm.
To those tempted to chastise her for changing her mind, I say we should welcome and salute anyone with…
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