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Would Accountability Based on Teacher Value Added Be Smart Policy? An Examination of the Statistical Properties and Policy Alternatives

  • Douglas N. Harris

    ()

    (Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison)

Annual student testing may make it possible to measure the contributions to student achievement made by individual teachers. But would these “teacher value-added” measures help to improve student achievement? I consider the statistical validity, purposes, and costs of teacher value-added policies. Many of the key assumptions of teacher value added are rejected by empirical evidence. However, the assumption violations may not be severe, and value-added measures still seem to contain useful information. I also compare teacher value-added accountability with three main policy alternatives: teacher credentials, school value-added accountability, and formative uses of test data. I argue that using teacher value-added measures is likely to increase student achievement more efficiently than a teacher credentials-only strategy but may not be the most cost-effective policy overall. Resolving this issue will require a new research and policy agenda that goes beyond analysis of assumptions and statistical properties and focuses on the effects of actual policy alternatives. © 2009 American Education Finance Association

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/edfp.2009.4.4.319
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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Education Finance and Policy.

Volume (Year): 4 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 319-350

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:4:y:2009:i:4:p:319-350
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