Eye on Education

Grading the Teachers: The Sound of Ideas Takes on Teacher Evaluation, Value Added

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Tomorrow at 9 a.m. WCPN’s talk show The Sound of Ideas will take on the topic of teacher evaluations and Ohio’s use of a statistical, test-based measure called value-added to rate teachers.

Along with The Cleveland Plain Dealer, we’ve been exploring how value-added works and how it’s affecting teachers and schools.

For our stories we’ve talked to frustrated teachers, like this teacher who received a low value-added rating:

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This series about valued-added, a new way that Ohio is using to measure whether teachers provide a year’s worth of learning to their students, is the result of a partnership between The Cleveland Plain Dealer and StateImpact Ohio. StateImpact reporters Molly Bloom and Ida Lieszkovszky worked with Plain Dealer reporter Patrick O’Donnell and Plain Dealer data analysis editor Rich Exner to produce these stories.


“The only person who doesn’t find me effective is the state of Ohio who has never stepped foot in my classroom.”

We’ve talked with teachers who think value-added can be one useful gauge of whether students are gaining knowledge. And we’ve talked to other educators as well as policymakers, researchers and students.

[You can read the full series of stories on value-added here.]

Now it’s your turn.

Tune in to The Sound of Ideas tomorrow from 9-10 a.m. online or at 90.3 in the Cleveland area to join the show. Guests will include Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper, Battelle for Kids’ Mike Thomas and StateImpact Ohio reporter Molly Bloom. Willoughby-Eastlake teacher Cindy Kozak will be on too.

Or join the conversation on Twitter any time: What do you think makes a good teacher? Join the conversation on Twitter at #teachereval #ohedchat or tweet at @StateImpactOH.

Update: You can listen to the full show right here.


  • Dr. D.

    Molly missed a couple of key points in her evaluation:
    1. Value -added scores are at best voodoo statistics – EVAAS took statistic principles (and, in one case, obscure principles) and applied the results as though significant (without statistical significance, a toss of dice would be at least as reliable). Along with this comment I question why EVAAS is so secretive in its formulation of final scores.

    2. No criticisms for the tests used to determine value-added. Where’s the discussion on assessment reliability and validity? Where’s the assurance by the ODE the questions measure what they are supposed to and that ALL answers are accurate?

    3. No discussion of other players/stakeholders. In some districts, teachers are required to teach scripted lessons. Why doesn’t the state hold textbook publishers accountable?

    4.Why stop with the publication of teachers’ names and ratings ? Why not include principals, higher administrators, and ALL state employees affiliated with education?

    5. The dollar cost of EVAAS and the new evaluation system. Here are a few numbers: PARCC – $186 million for four years; NIET – $72 million for 2012 (partial amount only). How many state dollars are Battelle for Kids received?

    6. No research about why ‘higher paid’ teachers might have lower scores. In some schools, new teachers have one prep whereas veteran teachers have more. Veteran teachers have, again in some schools, more challenging students, larger class sizes, or more academic classes at the end of the day (there’s a fair amount of research on self-monitoring being a limited commodity.)

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