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Published: Sunday, 5/8/2011

Value-added assessments focus on student academic growth

Ratings’ potential effect on teachers’ pay generates controversy

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Ohio Department of Education lists on state report cards for schools and districts the value-added rating for students from grades four through eight in both reading and math.

Value-added is a system that attempts to assess whether a student, or group of students, learned as much over a given year as expected.

In Ohio’s system, student benchmark scores from the previous year are compared to scores in the current year’s tests.

Growth in students’ test scores is then compared to scores of their peers across the state.

The state gives each grade-subject combination scores of either above, at, or below expected growth.

Be prepared to hear the words “value-added” more in coming years. A lot more.

Student academic growth, and what impact teachers have on it, is rapidly becoming a major topic in education reform.

A key requirement of the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top initiative is for states receiving federal funds to implement performance-based measures as a component of teacher and administrative assessments.

Value-added assessments are coming to Toledo, in one form or another. There is a push at the federal, state, and local levels to use performance-based measures as part of all teacher evaluations and eventually on how teachers and principals are paid and assigned positions.

There’s debate — and controversy — about how effective value-added measurements are at determining teacher effectiveness and how much, if any, they should be used in teacher assessments and determining teacher pay.

The Los Angeles Times published a database last year on its Web site of all value-added scores in the city. Teachers were outraged and organized a boycott of the newspaper.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086.



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