Putting Growth and Value-Added Models on the Map: A National Overview
by Clarin Collins & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley — 2014
Background: Within the last few years, the focus on educational accountability has shifted from holding students responsible for their own performance to holding those shown to impact student performance responsible—students’ teachers. Encouraged and financially incentivized by federal programs, states are becoming ever more reliant on statistical models used to measure students’ growth or value added and are attributing such growth (or decline) to students’ teachers of record. As states continue to join the growth and value-added model movement, it is difficult to find inclusive resources documenting the types of models used and plans for each state.
Objective: To capture state initiatives in this area, researchers collected data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to provide others with an inclusive national growth and value-added model overview. Data yielded include information about the types of growth or value-added models used in each state, the legislature behind each state’s reform efforts, the standardized tests used for growth or value-added calculations, and the strengths and weaknesses of each state’s models as described by state personnel.
Method: This article synthesizes qualitative and quantitative themes as identified from data collected via multiple phone interviews and emails with state department of education personnel in charge of their own state’s initiatives in this area, as well as state websites. These data provide the most inclusive and up-to-date resource on national growth and value-added data usage, noting however that this is changing rapidly across the nation, given adjustments in policies, pieces of legislation, and the like.
Conclusions: Findings from this study provide a one-stop resource on what each state has in place or in development regarding growth or value-added model use as a key component of its state-based teacher evaluation systems. Despite widespread use, however, not one state has yet articulated a plan for formative data use by teachers. Federal and state leaders seem to assume that implementing growth and value-added models leads to simultaneous data use by teachers. In addition, state representatives expressed concern that the current emphasis on growth and value-added models could be applied to only math and English/language arts teachers with state standardized assessments (approximately 30% of all teachers). While some believe the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and its associated tests will help to alleviate such issues with fairness, more research is needed surrounding (the lack of) fairness and formative use associated with growth and value-added models.
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