Value-Added Measures in Education

Value-Added Measures in Education What Every Educator Needs to Know

Douglas N. Harris, foreword by Randi Weingarten
paper, 288 Pages
Pub. Date: January 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-000-3
Price: $30.00

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In Value-Added Measures in Education, economist and education researcher Douglas N. Harris takes on one of the most hotly debated topics in education. Drawing on his extensive work with schools and districts, he sets out to help educators and policy makers understand this innovative approach to assessment.


Public debate rages over the complicated issues of high-stakes testing, school accountability, and merit pay. In Value-Added Measures in Education, Doug Harris offers a detailed, reasoned, and accessible explanation of what standardized test scores can truly measure and how we can design educational accountability systems that improve teaching and learning. A much-needed voice in this rancorous conversation! — Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, American Association of School Administrators

Value-added measurement is at the heart of today’s efforts to reform accountability, teacher evaluation, and teacher pay. Yet those responsible for these systems are often unsure of the practical challenges or potential pitfalls. Doug Harris, one of the nation’s leading authorities on value-added, has rendered a signal service in penning this accessible, practical ‘user’s manual.’ Value-Added Measures in Education is essential reading for district leaders, policy makers, reformers, and educators. — Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies, American Enterprise Institute

Value-Added Measures in Education offers an important paradigm shift in our understanding of how federally mandated test data should be used. Currently test data is used to compare different cohorts of students to one another. Harris shows that we will be able to meet students’ needs better if we place our focus on individual students’ learning year to year. — Christine A. Erickson, elementary teacher, Stoughton Area School District, Stoughton, Wisconsin

Doug Harris’s book provides a clear explanation of value-added models and their potential value in improving education for the nation’s children. While neither advocates nor critics of value-added models will find that the book totally supports their position, members of both camps will learn a great deal from it. Value-Added Measures in Education provides thoughtful, constructive advice about a host of practical issues that confront educators who implement this approach to accountability. The recommendations that conclude the book reflect the best available research knowledge and, most important, are sensible and actionable. — Richard J. Murnane, Thompson Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education

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About the Author

Douglas N. Harris is Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. His more than two dozen articles about teachers and accountability have been published in economics and other academic journals and cited in the national media, including CNN, Education Week, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He co-chaired the 2008 National Conferences on Value-Added in Madison, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC. He is a regular adviser to members of Congress, governors, school districts, and other education policymakers on value-added and other educational policy issues. In addition to his research and teaching, he is a former school board member. He and his wife, Debbi, are the parents of two daughters.

Not by “Value-Added” Alone, Voices in Education blog

Table of Contents [PDF]

Economists and the Value-Added Wave in Schools, Education Week

Introduction [PDF]

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