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Linda Darling-Hammond says Value Added Adds Little Value to Teacher Evaluations

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Monday, January 28, 2013 at 12:04 PM


Education expert Linda Darling-Hammond says she used to be interested in the value of "value-added," a way of assessing teacher effectiveness through analyzing data over time.

She says it's since lost its allure.

The Stanford University professor and former leader of President Obama's education transition team talked about value-added and other education reform initiatives last Friday at the City Club Forum in Cleveland.

Our colleagues at WCPN report Darling-Hammond warned against taking on too many reform efforts:

Darling-Hammond pointed to numerous areas where she says the U.S. lags behind the top performing nations in education - from its graduation rate, scholastic achievement and college readiness, to federal support and equal access to high quality schools. She said the U.S. has to choose its reforms wisely. One she warned against involves teacher evaluation. 

The “value-added” model requires teachers to show progress based on test scores each year.  Darling-Hammond says it’s been shown to unfairly punish already high-performing teachers.

“I’m a research who was very interested and enthusiastic about value added a few years ago, who has, among many other researchers, found that it has a lot more difficulty and problems than we realized,” Darling-Hammond said. “So the National Research Council has recently come out to say value added should not be used, because it’s very unstable. It’s unreliable. It turns out that it’s biased.”

Ohio began using value-added reports in select districts in 2011, and is slated to include them in all schools beginning next year. It’s part of the effort to move away from seniority and education credentials as the primary factors in teacher retention decisions. Value-added reports will account for 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation.

You can listen to Darling-Hammond's entire City Club speech here.


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