In general, value-added models use statistical formulas to generate estimates of how much a particular school or classroom teacher contributed to student learning, as measured by standardized-test scores. Tennessee’s version is known as TVAAS. It is included as one factor in a teacher-evaluation system that was rolled out, somewhat bumpily, in the 2011-12 school year.
Under state rules, a teacher with five or fewer tested students is graded on a “schoolwide” measure, based on the progress of all students in the school. Those teachers with six or more tested pupils receive an individual value-added estimate based on those students’ progress.
In the case of plaintiff Mark Taylor, an 8th grade science teacher, the value-added score was based on just the 22 students in his regular science class. They represented fewer than 16 percent of the total number of students he instructs, because he also has four sections of students who take an advanced course that does not conclude with a standardized exam.
The union says that the state has “no rational basis” for basing the measurement on only a fraction of a teacher’s students, and that the “arbitrary and irrational” categorization of teachers into groups with different evaluation rules violates teachers’ due-process and equal-protection rights under the U.S. Constitution.
In an interesting wrinkle, the lawsuit cites as evidence comments made by the developer of TVAAS, the North Carolina-based researcher William Sanders. Mr. Taylor’s parents were apparently acquainted with Mr. Sanders through Sunday school classes, and queried him by email whether TVAAS results based on one course were appropriate to use for evaluation purposes.
“For an overall evaluation of the effectiveness of the teacher to facilitate student academic progress, of course not,” Mr. Sanders replied, according to copies appended to the complaint.
Let me emphasize this part: “For an overall evaluation of the effectiveness of the teacher to facilitate student academic progress, of course not,” Mr. Sanders replied, according to copies appended to the complaint.”
OF COURSE NOT!!!!!!!!!
Standardized tests scores in Shelby County, TN, are 50% of our evaluation: 35% growth and 15% achievement. 40% are based on observations, 5% “professionalism” (A portfolio summarizing: leadership, professional development, data-driven instruction, & community partnerships), and 5% student perceptions.
From my point-of-view, this mix is fair. My observations accurately capture my teaching on a day-to-day level. The state end-of-course exam is a stand-in for a final exam. I’m personally looking forward to EOC’s being replaced by CCSS and NGSS based exams, since the current standards and format are low-rigor.
What I find unfair about this situation is not that test scores are used, but that an evaluation of his other students’ learning is not being made. If there is no state or national exam, he should be evaluated on a portfolio. Fine Arts teachers in Shelby County are evaluated in this way.
The coolest part of this article is how a fourteen year old can share research in a peer reviewed journal, not to mention teenagers developing ideas that can literally save millions of dollars.
The Department of Education published a report that shows sweeping patterns of disparity by race in public schools across the country, including fewer advanced classes available to students of color and a disproportionately high percentage of suspensions.
The National Center for Education Statistics released its “Projections of Education Statistics to 2022” with data on enrollment, teachers, graduates, and expenditures. Page 33, Table 3 shows how white students are projected to switch from majority to minority status this fall 2014.
With True Detective Season 1 behind us, my favorite show on television.
Over at Slate, their Spolier Special roundtable criticized True Detective for not answering all the questions it raised. While the show offered the facts, True Detective never promised to answer every question. The answers were the stories of the audience.
Again and again, writer Pizzolatto emphasized that a core theme of his show is the stories that we tell ourselves. Marty’s story was that he was a good man who needed a release before he could be a loving husband and father. Rust’s story changed from one of nihilism to one of grace, as Pizzolatto called it. Erroll’s story was one where he could escape the flat circle through completing a family ritual.
The story of much of the audience was one of conspiracies, justice, or both. Conspiracies provide order. They offer a solution to the problem of why bad things happen to good people and the wicked go unpunished. For some members of the audience, in order for the world of True Detective to make sense, it required that the conspiracy be laid out and fully understood. For other members of the audience, they required justice. True Detective played on the tropes of a crime procedural. The fallacy of the crime procedural is that crimes are solved neatly: law enforcement identifies the perpetrator who meets justice, whether by a court of law or a gun. While True Detective brought justice to DeWall, Reggie, and Errol, the audience wanted the story where justice is brought to all members of the twisted Tuttle-Childress tree. This lack of justice is a story in itself, one that can told about murderers and bank executives alike.
True Detective is a work of art and, once released to the world, is open to interpretation, story-making. When considering it, however, critics must remain conscious of their own stories and acknowledge when they are projecting them onto the story of another.
Interesting to read how the creator of a show viewed his work. I’d love to read the write ups for Cohle & Errol.