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Value-Added Model (VAM) Scholars on Using VAMs for Teacher Evaluation After the Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act


by Matthew Ryan Lavery, Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, Tray Geiger & Margarita Pivovarova - 2020

Background/Context: The Race to the Top federal initiatives and requirements surrounding waivers of No Child Left Behind promoted expanded use of value-added models (VAMs) to evaluate teachers. Even after passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) relaxed these requirements, allowing more flexibility and local control, many states and districts continue to use VAMs in teacher evaluation systems, suggesting that they consider VAMs a valid measure of teacher effectiveness. Scholars in the fields of economics, education, and quantitative methods continue to debate several aspects of VAMs’ validity for this purpose, however.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to directly ask the most experienced VAM scholars about validity of VAM use in teacher evaluation based on the aspects of validity described in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing and found in a review of high-quality peer-reviewed literature on VAMs.

Participants: We invited the 115 scholars listed as an author or coauthor of one or more of the 145 articles published on evaluating teachers with VAMs that have been published in prominent peer-reviewed journals between 2002 and implementation of ESSA in 2016. In this article, we analyze data from 36 respondents (12 economists, 13 educators, and 11 methodologists) who rated themselves as “experienced scholars,” “experts,” or “leading experts” on VAMs.

Research Design: This article reports both quantitative and qualitative analyses of a survey questionnaire completed by experienced VAM scholars.

Findings: Analyses of 44 Likert-scale items indicate that respondents were generally neutral or mixed toward the use of VAMs in teacher evaluation, though responses from educational researchers were more critical of VAM use than were responses from economists and quantitative methodologists. Qualitative analysis of free response comments suggests that participants oppose exclusive or high-stakes use of VAMs but are more supportive of their use as a component of evaluation systems that use multiple measures.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that scholars and stakeholders from different disciplines and backgrounds think about VAMs and VAM use differently. We argue that it is important to understand and address stakeholders’ multiple perspectives to find the common ground on which to build consensus.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 122 Number 7, 2020, p. 1-34
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23320, Date Accessed: 10/21/2020 12:49:43 AM

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About the Author
  • Matthew Lavery
    Bowling Green State University
    E-mail Author
    MATTHEW RYAN LAVERY, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Policy at Bowling Green State University. He studies the development and validation of educational assessments and psychological instruments to inform reflection and improve outcomes in teaching, learning, and leadership. Recent publications include “Analyzing Student Learning Gains to Evaluate Differentiated Teacher Preparation for Fostering English Learners’ achievement in Linguistically Diverse Classrooms,” coauthored with Joyce Nutta and Alison Youngblood (Journal of Teacher Education, 2018), and a chapter entitled “Developing an Assessment With Validity in Mind,” coauthored with Cindy Jong, Erin Krupa, and Jonathan Bostic, in the edited volume Assessment in Mathematics Education Contexts: Theoretical Frameworks and New Directions.
  • Audrey Amrein-Beardsley
    Arizona State University
    E-mail Author
    AUDREY AMREIN-BEARDSLEY, Ph.D., is a professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Her research interests include educational policy, research methods, and, more specifically, high-stakes tests and value-added measurements and systems. Two of her recent and related publications are “Tennessee’s National Impact on Teacher Evaluation Law & Policy: An Assessment of Value-Added Model Litigation,” coauthored with Mark A. Paige and Kevin Close in the Tennessee Journal of Law & Policy, 13(2), 2019; and “Using the Texas Value-Added Assessment System (TxVAAS) to Improve Teacher Effectiveness: Investigating the Research-Situated “Truths” Behind TxVAAS Claims,” coauthored with Clarin Collins in the Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 8(1), 2018.
  • Tray Geiger
    Arizona State University
    E-mail Author
    TRAY GEIGER is a senior planning analyst with enrollment analysis under the Office of the University Provost at Arizona State University (ASU). He is also a doctoral candidate in Education Policy and Evaluation in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. His research interests include educational accountability policy and teacher evaluation. Recent publications include “The Effects of Working Conditions on Teacher Mobility,” coauthored with Margarita Pivovarova in Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 24(6), 2018; and “The Artificial Conflation of Teacher-Level ‘Multiple Measures,’” coauthored with Audrey Amrein-Beardsley in Teachers College Record (2017).
  • Margarita Pivovarova
    Arizona State University
    E-mail Author
    MARGARITA PIVOVAROVA, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Her research interests include teacher quality and teacher mobility, and factors that affect academic achievement in K–12 settings. Her recent publications include “The Effects of Working Conditions on Teacher Mobility” coauthored with Tray Geiger in Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 24(6), 2018; and “Does Isolation From Immigrant Students Benefit or Harm Third-and-Higher Generation Students?” coauthored with J. M. Powers in Education Policy Analysis Archives (in press).
 
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