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The Sensitivity of Value-Added Modeling to the Creation of a Vertical Score Scale


  • Derek C. Briggs

    () (School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder)

  • Jonathan P. Weeks

    () (School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder)


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the sensitivity of growth and value-added modeling to the way an underlying vertical score scale has been created. Longitudinal item-level data were analyzed with both student- and school-level identifiers for the entire state of Colorado between 2003 and 2006. Eight different vertical scales were established on the basis of choices made for three key variables: the item response theory modeling approach, the calibration approach, and the student proficiency estimation approach. Each scale represented a methodological approach that was psychometrically defensible. Longitudinal values from each scale were used as the outcome in a commonly used value-added model (the “layered model” popularized by William Sanders) as a means of estimating school effects. Our findings suggest that while the ordering of estimating school effects is insensitive to the underlying vertical scale, the precision of such value-added estimates can be quite sensitive to the combinations of choices made in the creation of the scale. © 2009 American Education Finance Association

Suggested Citation

  • Derek C. Briggs & Jonathan P. Weeks, 2009. "The Sensitivity of Value-Added Modeling to the Creation of a Vertical Score Scale," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 384-414, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:4:y:2009:i:4:p:384-414

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.

    More about this item


    value-added modeling; vertical score scale; Colorado;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education


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