Sure, we’ve all heard about the shortcomings in teacher evaluation systems, particularly when it comes to using value-added measures in the mix. Some states have pulled back fro using VAM for the time being, while others are exploring excluding the process for the long term.
But there is real value in factoring in VAM scores … if we improve the methods by which we collect and apply those VAM numbers, writes Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine in a new commentary for Education Post. As Levine, the president emeritus of Teachers College Columbia University, notes:
In order to determine teacher effectiveness in the years ahead, we need to supplement VAM scores with other measures of student growth, further develop state data systems on student achievement, and create more advanced and sensitive 2.0 versions of VAM assessment.
We need to apply what has been learned and develop a next-generation VAM that will help strengthen teaching and learning for the nation’s children.
In pointing out some of the specific problems with VAM 1.0 — lessons Levine learned by using it to evaluate the success of his own Teaching Fellowship program at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation — he offers some specific lessons for both why and how VAM can be improved to be useful and fair.
It’s definitely worth the read. While some are quick to get rid of VAM entirely, we know that it will ultimately be replaced by something else. It makes far more sense to take the lessons learned today to improve the existing model for tomorrow, rather than repeating current mistakes.
Give the piece a read. You won’t be disappointed.