AERA Issues Statement on Use of Value-Added Models
AERA Issues Statement on Use of Value-Added Models
 
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November 2015

AERA released a statement in early November cautioning about the limitations of using value-added models (VAM) to assess the performance of educators and educator preparation programs. VAMs use changes in standardized student test scores over time to measure individual teacher effectiveness.

Over the last several years, many states and districts have incorporated VAM into their evaluation processes for teachers and teacher preparation programs. However, the AERA statement cautions about using VAM for high-stakes decisions.

“This statement draws on the leading testing, statistical, and methodological expertise in the field of education research and related sciences, and on the highest standards that guide education research and its applications in policy and practice,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine in a November 11 news release.

“The rapidly growing adoption of VAM for high-stakes decisions regarding teachers, principals, and teacher preparation programs, despite serious methodological concerns about their validity and reliability, precipitated AERA Council’s developing and approving this statement,” Levine added.

AERA’s statement sets forth eight technical requirements for scientifically rigorous and fair uses of VAM. The statement notes that this bar is high but important to observe.

In the statement, AERA also called for additional investment in research on VAM and alternative methods and models.

The release of the statement garnered national media attention, including articles in Education Week and the Washington Post, and a mention several days later in a second Washington Post story.

The Post’s coverage noted that the National Research Council, the American Statistical Association, and the Rand Corporation have also “previously cautioned against using value-added scores to make personnel decisions.”

Social media also took notice. AERA’s Twitter and Facebook posts on the statement generated largely positive feedback and a number of independent discussions on the issue.

Earlier this year, AERA dedicated a special issue of Educational Researcher to the effects on teachers of using test-based evaluations.

 
 
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