LA Times portal on value-added analysis of teachers

The Los Angeles Times has put together an information and opinion filled portal regarding their recent publication of a value-added analysis of Los Angeles teachers.

Measuring teacher performance is a tricky subject as there are a number of factors at play in a student’s academic performance. In an article, the newspaper summarizes how value-added scores are estimated:

Value-added estimates the effectiveness of a teacher by looking at the test scores of his students. Each student’s past test performance is used to project his performance in the future. The difference between the child’s actual and projected results is the estimated “value” that the teacher added or subtracted during the year. The teacher’s rating reflects his average results after teaching a statistically reliable number of students.

In addition to these methodological questions, there are number of other fascinating issues: should this sort of information be publicly available and how will affect teacher’s performance? Is it an accurate assessment of what teachers do? What should be done for the teachers who fall outside the normal range? How will the politics of all of this play out?

For those interested in education and measuring outcomes, this all makes for interesting reading.

(As a side note: I can only imagine what discussions would ensure if similar information was published regarding college professors.)

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