Teacher evaluations, once based largely on a brief classroom visit from a principal every few years, will change dramatically this school year.
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.
- Overview: Using Data To Evaluate Teachers
- Pay vs. Value-Added Performance
- Secrets Of Two “Most Effective” Teachers
- Value-Added’s Poverty Factor
- How is Value-Added Calculated?
- Audio: Measuring Performance Through Growth
- Audio: Push for Performance Pay
- Video: Guide to Ohio’s New Way of Evaluating Teachers
Many policymakers view this data-driven approach to sizing up teacher performance as crucial to weeding out bad teachers and rewarding good ones. But some teachers see the measure as a flawed attempt at quantifying something that isn’t easily quantifiable.
How it Works
Value-added scores are calculated by comparing how much students in each teacher’s class learned during the course of the year with how much they’re expected to learn.
How much they learn basically means how much their scores on state tests changed year to year. How much they’re expected to learn is determined by looking at how much other students at similar achievement levels have learned from year to year.
The better students do in comparison to their peers, the better their teacher’s score. That differential is assumed to be the teacher’s doing — the “value” he or she adds in the classroom.
Those ratings are still something of an experiment. Only reading and math teachers in grades four to eight get value-added ratings now. But the state is exploring how to expand value-added to other grades and subjects.
Why it Matters
What’s riding on these grades varies depending on how school districts choose to use them. But more than a teacher’s pride is at stake. The ratings could eventually become part of decisions about how much teachers are paid, what classes they teach and, if a district has to lay off teachers, their place on the list of who stays and who goes.