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Stephanie Sandifer


I just happen to be sitting in a district-wide in-service today focused on our new model for evaluating performance from one campus to the next.

The approach being used by my district now uses a value-added method of evaluating teacher and campus performance. All standardized test scores are converted to z-scores so that performance can be compared between different tests (norm-referenced and criterion-referenced). Those z-scores are then calculated longitudinally to determine the level of growth that each individual student has gained (or lost) in one year.

By looking at growth as opposed to a one-year snapshot of a test score, it becomes easier to see how well our teachers and our schools are doing -- regardless of the economic level of the students in each school. If high-achieving students gain less in one year than lower-achieving students, the difference becomes evident in a value-added evaluation process. School A (high-income, higher-achieving) may have overall higher test scores, but may have a lower overall gain/growth from one year to the next than a school with overall lower test scores.

I should add that this model is also measuring growth longitudinally through cohorts of students. In other words, how one group of students does one year compared to the same group's performance the previous year is how the "value-added" is determined for the school or the teacher. This model is not measuring one group of 9th grade students against a new group of 9th graders.

It isn't a perfect system. But it is better than the models that have been used in the past, and it does come closer to measuring the effect of the school or the teacher regardless of student background.



It seems as if this is a step in the right direction. When school grades are published, the general public can easily be mislead. I personally think schools should be "graded" on improvement, which it seems your distrcit is doing.

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