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Test Measurement Error and Inference from Value-Added Models

It is widely known that standardized tests are noisy measures of student learning, but value added models (VAMs) rarely take direct account of measurement error in student test scores. We examine the extent to which modifying VAMs to include information about test measurement error (TME) can improve inference. Our analysis is divided into two parts – one based on simulated data and the other based on administrative micro data from Missouri. In the simulations we control the data generating process, which ensures that we obtain accurate TME metrics with which to modify our value-added models. In the real-data portion of our analysis we use estimates of TME provided by a major test publisher. We find that inference from VAMs is improved by making simple TME adjustments to the models. This is a notable result because the improvement can be had at zero cost.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 1201.

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Length: 31 pgs.
Date of creation: 30 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy 2012
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1201
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  1. Gadi Barlevy & Derek Neal, 2009. "Pay for percentile," Working Paper Series WP-09-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Kane, Thomas J. & Rockoff, Jonah E. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2008. "What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 615-631, December.
  3. Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Zajonc, Tristan, 2009. "Do value-added estimates add value ? accounting for learning dynamics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5066, The World Bank.
  4. repec:mpr:mprres:7019 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Dale Ballou, 2009. "Test Scaling and Value-Added Measurement," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 351-383, October.
  6. Michael J. Podgursky & Matthew G. Springer, 2007. "Teacher performance pay: A review," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 909-950.
  7. Heather C. Hill, 2009. "Evaluating value-added models: A validity argument approach," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(4), pages 700-709.
  8. Cory Koedel & Julian R. Betts, 2011. "Does Student Sorting Invalidate Value-Added Models of Teacher Effectiveness? An Extended Analysis of the Rothstein Critique," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 18-42, January.
  9. Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin, 2010. "Generalizations about Using Value-Added Measures of Teacher Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 267-71, May.
  10. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:1:p:175-214 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Sass, Tim R. & Semykina, Anastasia & Harris, Douglas N., 2014. "Value-added models and the measurement of teacher productivity," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 9-23.
  12. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2011. "The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood," NBER Working Papers 17699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 175-214.
  15. Donald Boyd & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2011. "Teacher Layoffs: An Empirical Illustration of Seniority versus Measures of Effectiveness," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 6(3), pages 439-454, July.
  16. Douglas O. Staiger & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2010. "Searching for Effective Teachers with Imperfect Information," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 97-118, Summer.
  17. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2002. "The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
  18. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2007. "Teachers and Student Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 95-135.
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