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Spring or Fall Annual Tests? Implications for Value-added Models


by Michael S. Hayes & Seth Gershenson — September 04, 2018

School districts rely on standardized tests that are only administered once per academic year to produce value-added measures (VAMs) of teacher effectiveness. This is problematic because students’ summer learning is incorrectly attributed to the teacher, potentially biasing estimates of teacher effectiveness. However, there is limited research on whether spring or fall tests yield more valid VAMs. We fill this gap in knowledge by comparing the accuracy of fall-to-fall and spring-to-spring “cross-year” VAMs relative to arguably more valid fall-to-spring “within-year” VAMs. We find that spring-to-spring “cross-year” VAMs, relative to fall-to-fall “cross-year” VAMs, are more valid, as they are more consistent with “within-year” VAMs. This suggests that spring assessments are preferred to fall assessments, at least when the objective is to obtain valid VAM-based estimates of school or teacher effectiveness.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: September 04, 2018
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22493, Date Accessed: 11/16/2018 12:38:41 AM

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About the Author
  • Michael Hayes
    Rutgers University
    E-mail Author
    MICHAEL S. HAYES is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers University. His current research interests include school employee retention rates, the causes and consequences of summer learning loss, and education finance.
  • Seth Gershenson
    American University
    E-mail Author
    SETH GERSHENSON is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University and a research fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany. His research interests include teacher labor markets, the causes and consequences of summer learning loss, and the role of expectations in the education production function.
 
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