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Making better teachers: the fight over "value-added" evaluations

Making better teachers: the fight over
Making better teachers: the fight over "value-added" evaluation.

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When it comes to trying to improve student performance in public schools, many factors come together. One of the major issues is teacher performance and how best to judge teacher effectiveness. The “value-added” approach attempts statistically to show how an individual teacher can make a difference - positively or negatively - in how students do, regardless of class size or background.

Recent articles in the Los Angeles Times about this controversial method have sparked a nationwide debate, which has pitted President Obama’s Secretary of Education against teacher unions and many academics. The Los Angeles Unified School District is in the midst of asking for outside proposals to determine the most reliable way of judging teacher success. The district has gone on record that one of the components they want to include is “value-added” analysis.

Is this the best way to grade teachers? Does the public have a right to see the results? What role should subjective evaluations and student performance play?

Check out KPCC's interactive on educators' responses to teacher evaluations.


Eric Hanushek, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution whose analysis measuring teacher quality through student achievement forms the basis of the “value-added” method of evaluating teachers and schools; chair of the National Board for Education Sciences; chairman of the Executive Committee for Texas Schools Project at the University of Texas; author of "There Is No ‘War on Teachers,'" an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal

Richard Rothstein, research associate at the Economic Policy Institute; national education columnist at The New York Times (from 1999 to 2002); author of Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right and Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap (Teachers College Press); co-author of Problems with the Use of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers