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Volume 27, Number 2
March/April 2011

Seven Misconceptions About Value-Added Measures


In August 2010, the Los Angeles Times took the controversial—and unprecedented—step of calculating value-added scores for thousands of Los Angeles Unified School District teachers and publishing individual teachers’ scores along with their names. More recently, the United Federation of Teachers has sued (so far unsuccessfully) to prevent the New York City Department of Education from releasing data that would allow media to publish the same information on New York City teachers. These efforts to publicize individual value-added scores illustrate exactly why educators distrust the ability of policy makers to design appropriate accountability policies and of the media to accurately portray school performance.

Professional athletes, realtors, and a handful of other professions make individual performance measures publicly available. But for teachers, as for people in most kinds of jobs, disclosing this information doesn’t make much sense. Why not?

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


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