Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 27, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good Articles & Posts On Education Policy

Here are some relatively recent useful article on education policy issues:

Great uncertainty over direction of state standardized tests
is an article over at Ed Source that does an extraordinarily good job at describing the many challenges involved in the “next generation” of state testing. It specifically discusses California, but I suspect the issues are similar in many other places. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

What Happened to Public Education on Election Night? is from Dissent. I’m adding it to The Best Reports On Education-Related 2012 Election Results.

Why the School Turnaround Experiment Is Failing is by John Thompson. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Four School Improvement Grant Models.

How Do Value-Added Indicators Compare to Other Measures of Teacher Effectiveness? is by Douglas Harris. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation.

October 24, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Two More Studies Show The Flaws Behind Using “Value-Added Measures” To Assess Teachers — Is Gates Foundation Listening?

Education Week reports on two new studies done by very well respected researchers, including Douglas Harris (who literally wrote the book on value-added measures), finding that VAM does not accurately measure teacher performance in middle and high school. They point to tracking as one of the reasons.

The find what many previous studies have found:

The scholars’ analysis also showed that teachers who taught more remedial classes tended to have lower value-added scores, on average, than those teachers who taught mainly higher-level classes.

That phenomenon was not due to the best teachers’ disproportionately teaching the more-rigorous classes, as is often asserted. Instead, the paper shows, even those teachers who taught courses at more than one level of rigor did better when their performance teaching the upper-level classes was compared against that from the lower-level classes.

I’m not ready, however, to throw my elementary school colleagues under the VAM bus. Many are studies have confirmed what these new ones have found, and have also found big problems with VAM at the elementary level.

You can read about that evidence at The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation and at
The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

May 30, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good Posts On Education Policy Issues

Here’s a compilation of recent good posts on education policy:

Education and the income gap: Darling-Hammond appeared in The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement.

TFA Teachers: How Long Do They Teach? Why Do They Leave? is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Raising Concerns About Teach For America.

Computer Scoring Open Ended History Questions is by Tom Hoffman.

Robot Eyes As Good As Humans When Grading Essays is a strange title for an NPR interview with NY Times writer Michael Winerip.

I’m adding both to The Best Posts On Computer-Graded Essays.

In New Federal Program to Reward Teachers, Flawed Assumptions is by Stephen Lazar.

The Common Core: The Technocrats Re-engineer Learning is by Anthony Cody. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Sharing Concerns About Common Core Standards.

Common Core standards drive wedge in education circles is from USA Today. I’m adding it to the same list.

Value-Added Versus Observations, Part One: Reliability is from The Shanker Blog. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

What new research on extended school day says appeared in The Washington Post.

How NOT to extend the school day was also in The Washington Post.

I’m adding both to The Best Resources On The Idea Of Extending The School Day.

Note to SIG Schools: Good Lists ≠ Good Outcomes is by Robert Slavin at Education Week.

Implications for Policy Are Not So Clear is by Douglas Harris and appeared in Education Next. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On The NY Times-Featured Teacher Effectiveness Study.

January 7, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
8 Comments

The Best Posts On The NY Times-Featured Teacher Effectiveness Study

Boy oh boy, yesterday was sure a “one-two” punch on teachers with the Gates report and the front page New York Times story on the Chetty, Friedman & Rockoff (CFR) study.

Here are my choices for The Best Posts On The NY Times-Featured Teacher Effectiveness Study:

I think the best commentary on it is at Economists to teachers: We’ve dropped the “Deselection” and moved straight to “Fire ‘em” at Cedar Riener’s blog.

I’ve written two posts about it:

“let some of the players with lower batting averages go”

“The message is to fire people sooner rather than later”

Fire first, ask questions later? Comments on Recent Teacher Effectiveness Studies is from School Finance 101.

Here We Go Again is by David B. Cohen.

Quick impressions on Chetty, Friedman, and Rockoff is by Sherman Dorn.

The Anatomy of Education Deform is from The Assailed Teacher.

The Persistence Of Both Teacher Effects And Misinterpretations Of Research About Them is by Matthew Di Carlo at The Shanker Blog.

The Politicization Of Educational Research is from Edwize.

What is the Value in a High Value-Added Teacher? is from The Core Knowledge blog.

What Nicholas Kristof Leaves Out: Discussing the Value of Teachers is from “Funny Monkey.”

Michael Winerip at The Times has written an exceptional commentary. Here is how he ends it:

Economists need to find a way to quantify everything. Teachers with high value-added ratings may indeed have long-term positive impacts on students. But it is also possible that teachers who are excellent at project-based education have an even stronger longterm impact and we would never know it because their results cannot be teased out of a million pieces of data.

The danger is that education policy gets driven by teaching methods that can be given a number.

I suspect that Mr. Noyes, my 11th grade Advance Placement American history teacher from 40 years ago, had a low value-added rating. As I recall, no one in our class got a top score of 5; I got a 3. There was no prepared curriculum aligned with the test: Mr. Noyes built the lessons. On any given topic, he would assign us several books that viewed history through different lenses — economics, politics, personality.

I have long ago forgotten the content of those lessons, but Mr. Noyes instilled in us something far more important: the understanding that history does not come from one book. While that idea has served me for a lifetime, I do not believe it is quantifiable.

The Evil Economics Of Judging Teachers is from The Awl.

Problems with the big teacher evaluation study is by Diane Ravitch.

Leaps of Logic and Sleights of Hand:The Misuse of Educational Research In Policy Debates is from Edwize.

Dear Michelle Rhee: About that teacher evaluation study is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Follow up on Fire First, Ask Questions Later is from School Finance 101.

Scapegoating Teachers is by Moshe Adler.

Review of the Long Term Impacts of Teachers is from The National Education Policy Center.

Implications for Policy Are Not So Clear is by Douglas Harris and appeared in Education Next.

Revisiting the Chetty, Rockoff & Friedman Molehill is from Bruce Baker.

The Study That Keeps On Giving… is from VAMBoozled.

The Great Lakes Center has done an important review of infamous Raj Chetty, John Friedman, & Jonah Rockoff study on teacher’s value-added.

Debate Intensifies over Value-Added Research is from The National Education Policy Center and provides a good critique of the infamous Chetty study on VAM.

Feedback is always welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 800 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

April 10, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Excellent Info On “Value-Added” Approach To Teacher Evaluation

Education writers from throughout the United States are at a meeting in New Orleans this weekend, and I’ve been reading their tweets about the conference. I was particularly interested in the session on the value-added approach to teacher evaluation, and found some excellent resources I’m adding to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation.

Douglas Harris is from the University of Wisconsin, and has written a book titled Value-Added Measures in Education What Every Educator Needs to Know. He spoke at the conference, and I’ll include one related tweet at the end of this post. Here are links to two pieces he’s written:

Not by “Value-Added” Alone

Value-Added and Other Measures of Teacher Quality: Policy Uses and Policy Validity

Matthew Nathan quoted Harris in this tweet:

It’s like publishing 10 politicians names as corrupt when you know the data tells you 6 of 10 are not

June 28, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
10 Comments

The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation

'VAM issues' photo (c) 2013, John Spencer - EdRethink - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

(UPDATE: Readers might also be interested in “The Best Posts About The LA Times Article On “Valued-Added” Teacher Ratings”)

You might also be interested in:

The Best Posts & Articles About The New York Court Decision Releasing Teacher Ratings

I’m part of a group of teachers working with The Center For Teaching Quality that’s preparing a policy report on Teacher Working Conditions and how they relate to student learning.

I’m learning a lot about many things during research, and one of them is about the “valued added” approach that’s being discussed a lot for use in teacher evaluation. And what I’m finding is leaving me deeply concerned about it.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

I thought readers here might find it useful to see what I think are The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation (please feel free to leave your comments and other suggestions in the comments section, too):

The National Research Council and the National Academy of Education jointly issued a report on value-added approaches, and their report has been summarized in The Washington Post. Don’t rush to link teacher evaluation to student achievement is a must-read.

No Value Added: The Mismeasurement of Teaching Quality is a column by David M. Cohen that appeared in Teacher Magazine. By the way, be sure to check-out the InterACT blog written by David and others who are members of Accomplished California Teachers (I’m a member, too!).

Pondering Legal Implications of Value-Added Teacher Evaluation raises some interesting points.

How NOT to Evaluate Teachers is by Daniel Willingham. It’s a couple of years old, but still definitely relevant.

Willingham refers to a post titled My Value-Added Bucket List by eduwonkette, who used to write at Education Week.

Using Value-Added Measures to Evaluate Teachers at Educational Leadership reviews some recent research.

The No Stats All Star raises a key point in evaluating teachers…and basketball players.

The Hechinger Ed Report has a nice summary of a major study that raises questions about using test scores to evaluate teachers:

In a typical rating system aimed at identifying poorly performing teachers, one in four teachers whose performance is fine could be misidentified as bad. At the same time, teachers whose students underperform had a one in four chance of being mislabeled as average performers.

School Finance 101 also has an analysis of the report.

Were some D.C. teachers fired based on flawed calculations? is title of a piece the Washington Post. It’s another cautionary tale about “value-added” teacher assessment.

Proceed with Caution: Using Standardized Test Scores in High-Stakes Decisions is the title of a good post by Anne O’Brien at The Learning First Alliance. It links to stories about recent problems with New York and Florida state standardized tests, and discusses that problems like these wave a caution flag to notions like teacher merit pay.

You can see a video explaining the problems of the “value-added” approach here.

A Measured Approach: Value-Added Models Are a Promising Improvement, but No One Measure Can Evaluate Teacher Performance by Daniel Koretz

LA Times Value-Added Release – Problems and Solutions at The Quick and The Ed (I’d recommend you skip down to the “Problems with Value Added Measures of Teacher Effectiveness” section and also read John Thompson’s comment)

Putting Teachers to the Test is a good explanation of “value-added” measures for teachers, where they are evaluated on their students’ growth in test scores. The Wall Street Journal published it .

Problems with the Use of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers is a report from the Economic Policy Institute, and may be the best study out there. Ken Bernstein has written a good post about it.

“Are Test Scores the Right Measuring Stick for Teachers?” is a good short piece from American RadioWorks.

Formula to Grade Teachers’ Skill Gains in Use, and Critics is an article in The New York Times. It seems to me to be one of the better short accessible pieces out there about the “valued-added” approach.

Assessing A Teacher’s Value is the headline of a New York Times feature that highlights four supporters and four critiques of the “value-added” approach of assessing teachers. Critics including Linda Darling-Hammond and Diane Ravitch.

Teacher Added-Value Scores: Publish and Perish is a very thoughtful analysis of the problems inherent in publishing the “value-added” assessments of teachers. It’s from the Albert Shanker Institute, and raises some issues I haven’t seen raised elsewhere.

Is D.C.’s teacher evaluation system rigged? is a guest post by Aaron Pallas at The Washington Post’s “Answer Sheet” blog. It makes some excellent points about the “value-added” assessment system for teachers, including some I hadn’t heard before.

Public Displays of Teacher Effectiveness is a column from Ed Week.

Hurdles Emerge in Rising Effort to Rate Teachers is the headline of a New York Times article that gives a fair-to-middlin’ overview on the issue of using the value-added approach in teacher assessment. It does have some good info.

Neither Fair Nor Accurate • Research-Based Reasons Why High-Stakes Tests Should Not Be Used to Evaluate Teachers comes from Rethinking Schools.

Mike Dwyer: Value Adders – the newest members of the Monday Morning Quarterback Club comes from Anthony Cody’s blog at Ed Week.

I was critical of the December, 2010 Gate Foundation report on supporting the value-added approach towards teacher evaluation, and I wasn’t the only one. A well-regarded professor and economist, Jess Rothstein, has come-out with a thorough, and critical, analysis of that same report. In addition to reviewing his report (or instead of), you could read summaries of it here:

Premises, Presentation And Predetermination In The Gates MET Study at the Shanker Blog.

New analysis challenges Gates study on value-added measures by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

How About a Measures of Effective Reporting Project? by Sabrina Stevens Shupe at The Huffington Post.

“Beyond Value-Added Models…Getting the Mechanics of High-Stakes Teacher Effectiveness Policies Right” is a post at Ed Week by Dan Goldhaber. I’m not too thrilled by the article itself. However, the comments section is a must-read for anyone interested in teacher evaluation. The multiple comments by John Thompson are especially insightful.

The pitfalls of putting economists in charge of education is a useful post by Diane Ravitch.

The “three great teachers in a row” myth is a piece by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Evaluating New York Teachers, Perhaps the Numbers Do Lie is an article from The New York Times. Check-out the equation above the headline!

Gates’ Measures of Effective Teaching Study: More Value-Added Madness is by Justin Baeder at Ed Week.

Student Test Score Based Measures of Teacher Effectiveness Won’t Improve NJ Schools is an excellent article on the problems of Value Added Assessment

‘Value-added’ teacher evaluations: L.A. Unified tackles a tough formula is from The Los Angeles Times.

Education writers from throughout the United States recently met in New Orleans, and I read their tweets about the conference. I was particularly interested in the session on the value-added approach to teacher evaluation, and found some excellent resources.

Douglas Harris is from the University of Wisconsin, and has written a book titled Value-Added Measures in Education What Every Educator Needs to Know. He spoke at the conference, and I’ll include one related tweet a little later. Here are links to two pieces he’s written:

Not by “Value-Added” Alone

Value-Added and Other Measures of Teacher Quality: Policy Uses and Policy Validity

Matthew Nathan quoted Harris in tweet:

It’s like publishing 10 politicians names as corrupt when you know the data tells you 6 of 10 are not

Student Test Scores: An Inaccurate Way to Judge Teachers is from Fair Test.

Mathematical Intimidation: Driven by the Data is by John Ewing, president of Math For America. He provides a good critique of value-added assessment. Here’s an excerpt:

Whether naïfs or experts, mathematicians need to confront people who misuse their subject to intimidate others into accepting conclusions simply
because they are based on some mathematics. Unlike many policy makers, mathematicians are not bamboozled by the theory behind VAM, and they
need to speak out forcefully. Mathematical models have limitations. They do not by themselves convey authority for their conclusions. They are tools, not magic. And using the mathematics to intimidate—to preempt debate about the goals of education and measures of success—is harmful not only to
education but to mathematics itself.

Value-Added Evaluation & Those Pesky Collateralized Debt Obligations by Karl Hess appeared in Education Week. The comments are a “must-read,” too.

An excellent post appeared in The Washington Post’s “The Answer Sheet” titled NY regent: Why we shouldn’t link teacher evaluation to test scores. Here is the introduction to the post:

was written by Roger Tilles, a member of the New York State Board of Regents, which supervises all educational activities within the state. post refers to action taken on Monday by the board, which adopted regulations for a teacher and principal performance evaluation system in which 20 to 40 percent of the evaluation is linked to student standardized test scores.

The letter from assessment experts the N.Y. Regents ignored is from The Washington Post.

On False Dichotomies and Warped Reformy Logic is from School Finance 101.

Value-Added In Teacher Evaluations: Built To Fail comes from The Shanker Blog.

VAM Nauseum: Bleeding the Patient is a post by David B. Cohen.

Firing Line: The Grand Coalition Against Teachers comes from Dissent Magazine.

Heather Hill: Value-Added Assessment 101 is a good short video on Value Added Assessment.

Linda Darling-Hammond’s Getting teacher evaluation right at The Answer Sheet may be THE piece on teacher evaluation.

Christie misses the mark on grading teachers, author says is from The Star-Ledger in New Jersey.

Principals rebel against ‘value-added’ evaluation is from The Washington Post.

Turning the Tables: VAM on Trial is by David B. Cohen.

When The Legend Becomes Fact, Print The Fact Sheet is from The Shanker Blog.

What Value-Added Research Does And Does Not Show is by Matthew Di Carlo at The Shanker Blog.

‘Rigor mortis ’ in teacher evaluation systems

Value-Added Evaluation Hurts Teaching is a very important commentary written by Linda Darling-Hammond for Education Week.

Teacher: I dare you to measure my ‘value’ is from The Washington Post.

Hot Off The Press! The Best Piece Yet Published On Teacher Evaluation

Grant Wiggins’ Critique Of Value-Added Measurement To Assess Teachers

Guest Post: Here’s What Was Missing From The Wall Street Journal’s Column On Teacher Evaluation

The Problem with Value-Added Measurement is by Gary Rubinstein.

John Thompson’s Book Review: “VAM in Education” — Who has the Burden of Proof? appeared in Education Week.

Two More Studies Show The Flaws Behind Using “Value-Added Measures” To Assess Teacher — Is Gates Foundation Listening?

Value-Added, For The Record is from The Shanker Blog.

How Do Value-Added Indicators Compare to Other Measures of Teacher Effectiveness? is by Douglas Harris.

The fundamental flaws of ‘value added’ teacher evaluation is from the Washington Post.

More Evidence Showing The Dangers Of Using High-Stakes Testing For Teacher Evaluation

Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation is a new study raising questions about the use of Value-Added Measurement.

Ten Reasons Value-Added Measures Are a Bad Idea is by John Spencer.

Now We Know Why Obama Doesn’t Understand VAM is by Mercedes Schneider.

What Are Error Rates for Classifying Teacher and School Performance Using Value-Added Models? is from American Educational Research Association.

Will value-added measurement survive the courts? is from The Hechinger Ed blog.

Proposal to refine state’s “value-added” formula elicits concerns is from Gotham Schools.

Value-Added Measures (VAM) is from Scott McLeod.

Thompson: False Positives & Value-Added Evaluation is from John Thompson.

Connecting test scores to teacher evaluations: Why not? is from Dangerously Irrelevant.

The Carnegie Knowledge Network has a series of very useful “briefs” on Value-Added Measurement.

Here’s a short video on Twitter by Arthur Goldstein showing Charlotte Danielson, the present “guru” of teacher evaluation for many districts, saying that student test results should not be used in teacher evaluations:

E.D. Hirsch, Jr. comes out against Value Added Assessment for teachers, at least for those who teach language arts.

Reliability and Validity of Inferences About Teachers Based on Student Test Scores by Edward H. Haertel from Stanford University was published by The Education Testing Service (ETS). Though I’ve only had a chance to skim it, it appears to be an extraordinary critique of the use of Value Added Measures in teacher evaluation.

Case study: The false promise of value-added teacher assessment is from The Washington Post.

The Value Added & Growth Score Train Wreck is Here is from School Finance 101.

Quote Of The Day: “Do student test scores provide solid basis to evaluate teachers?”

“Small Typo” In D.C. Teacher Evaluation Illustrate Bigger Problem With VAM

AFT’s Weingarten Backtracks on Using Value-Added Measures for Evaluations is from Education Week and Breaking News: Weingarten Rejects VAM! is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

The U.S. Department of Education came out with a new study on Value Added Measurements. Here are some tweets about it:

Comparing Oak Trees’ “Apples to Apples,” by Stanford’s Edward Haertel is from VAMBoozled.

Another Nail In VAM’s Coffin?

One of many nails in the VAM coffin…. is from Better Living Through Mathematics.

Here is a VAM mathematical formula from Florida.

The Houston teachers union has sued over the district’s use of Value-Added Measurement in teacher evaluations. You can read about it in Ed Week here and also watch this video of their news conference:

And here’s a tweet providing further info:

Important New Report Questions VAM

Are Researchers Who Helped Popularize VAM Having Second Thoughts?

Feedback, as always, is welcome. What do you think of the value-added approach? What do you think are the best ways to evaluate teacher effectiveness?

If you found post useful, you might want to look at the 460 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to blog for free.