"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Houston, You've Got a Problem: It's Called EVAAS

Never really understood what value-added test scores mean, and how they affect teachers and kids?  Ever wondered why the National Academy of Sciences sent a a 14-page letter to Arne Duncan warning him against high stakes use of value-added in RTTT.

That's okay, you're not alone--many of us are puzzled.  One thing is for sure, however--when teachers band together and get a couple of good lawyers to shine a penetrating light on this Oz-inspired scheme and the wreckage it is causing, that's when this house of cards will come tumbling down.

Take a few minutes to have a look at this video, which is based on a peer-reviewed study by Armrein-Beardsley and Collins.  Abstract and link to the study under the video.


The SAS Educational Value-Added Assessment System (SAS® EVAAS®) is the most widely used value-added system in the country. It is also self-proclaimed as “the most robust and reliable” system available, with its greatest benefit to help educators improve their teaching practices. This study critically examined the effects of SAS® EVAAS® as experienced by teachers, in one of the largest, high-needs urban school districts in the nation – the Houston Independent School District (HISD). Using a multiple methods approach, this study critically analyzed retrospective quantitative and qualitative data to better comprehend and understand the evidence collected from four teachers whose contracts were not renewed in the summer of 2011, in part given their low SAS® EVAAS® scores. This study also suggests some intended and unintended effects that seem to be occurring as a result of SAS® EVAAS® implementation in HISD. In addition to issues with reliability, bias, teacher attribution, and validity, high-stakes use of SAS® EVAAS® in this district seems to be exacerbating unintended effects.


value-added models (VAMs); validity; reliability; high-stakes testing; teacher effectiveness; teacher evaluation; educational Policy; accountability
Full Text: PDF

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