That’s the question the Tennessee Education Association is asking about the use of value-added data (TVAAS) in teacher evaluations.
The TEA, joining with the National Education Association, has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Tennessee’s use of TVAAS data in teacher evaluations.
According to a press release, TEA is specifically concerned about teachers who receive value-added scores based on students they have never taught. A significant number of Tennessee teachers currently receive a portion of their evaluation score based on TVAAS scores from school-wide or other data, meaning teachers are graded based on students they’ve never taught.
The release states:
More than half of the public school teachers in Tennessee receive evaluations that are based substantially on standardized test scores of students in subjects they do not teach. The lawsuit seeks relief for those teachers from the arbitrary and irrational practice of measuring their effectiveness with statistical estimates based on standardized test scores from students they do not teach and may have never met.
While Governor Haslam is proposing that the legislature reduce the impact of TVAAS scores on teacher evaluations during the state’s transition to new standardized tests, his proposal does not address the issues of statistical validity with the transition. There is no way to determine how TCAP scores will interface with the scores from a test that has not even been developed yet. To hold teachers accountable for data generated in such an unreliable fashion is not only statistically suspect, it’s disrespectful.
Finally, it’s worth noting that value-added data doesn’t do much in terms of differentiating teacher performance. Of course, even if it did, holding teachers accountable for students they don’t teach defies logic.
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