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The trouble with value-added-modeling

Value-added model scores for teachers: some disturbing scatterplots. Gary Rubinstein finds a lot of noise and very little signal in the VAM scores of 18,000 New York teachers, recently released by the Bloomberg administration under a Freedom of Information Act Request. (VAM previously on MetaFilter.)
posted by escabeche on Mar 6, 2012 - 104 comments

Is teacher evaluation statistical voodoo?

"Value-added modeling is promoted because it has the right pedigree -- because it is based on "sophisticated mathematics." As a consequence, mathematics that ought to be used to illuminate ends up being used to intimidate." John Ewing, president of Math for America and former executive director of the American Mathematical Society, criticizes the "value-added modeling" approach used as a proxy for teacher quality, most famously in a Los Angeles Times story that called out low-scoring teachers by name. A Brookings Institution paper says value-added modeling is flawed but the best measure we have of teacher value, arguing that the metric's wide fluctuations from year to year are no worse than those of batting averages in baseball. (Though the weakness of that correlation is mostly a BABIP issue.) Can we assign a numerical value to teacher quality? If so, how?
posted by escabeche on Apr 27, 2011 - 62 comments

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