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Student Assessment and Teacher Effectiveness: Telling the Whole Story

Recently, the Los Angeles Times published an explosive article reporting the results of its assessment of more than 6,000 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (Feltch et al. 2010). The Times’ analysis uses a version of a conventional technique for measuring teacher effectiveness, value-added modeling (VAM). VAM evaluates teachers by comparing the performance of students in their classes on standardized tests given before and after the year spent with the teacher. The article has drawn fire for many reasons—from the quality of the study’s design to its singling out of individual teachers. Indeed, one of the most striking features of the article is that the newspaper has promised to provide a value-added score, or measure of teacher effectiveness, for each teacher by name on its website.

Maria Fitzpatrick
Publication Date
September, 2010