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Volume 21, Number 3
May/June 2005

Adding Value to Student Assessment

Does “value-added assessment” live up to its name?


When English teacher Dawna Vanderpool returned to school last fall, she did what many teachers do: She pored over her eighth graders’ test results from the previous year, searching for clues about how much they had learned and what aspects of her teaching had or had not been effective. Instead of relying on a single benchmark to measure achievement, however—for instance, whether a student scored as “proficient” on a statewide language arts test—Vanderpool measured each student’s progress by comparing his or her actual test score to the score the student had been expected to receive, a prediction calculated on the basis of performance on annual tests in previous years.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

D. Ballou. "Sizing Up Test Scores." Education Next 2, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 10-15.

J. Mahoney. "Why Add Value in Assessment?" The School Administrator (December 2004): 16-18.

D.F. McCaffrey, J.R. Lockwood, D.M. Koretz, and L.S. Hamilton. Evaluating Value-Added Models for Teacher Accountability. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Education, 2003.