Wednesday, 25th January 2012
Long-Term Impacts Of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added And Student Outcomes In Adulthood
Source: Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
From the executive summary (PDF):
Many policy makers advocate increasing the quality of teaching, but there is considerable debate about the best way to measure and improve teacher quality. One method is to evaluate teachers based on their impacts on students' test scores, commonly termed the "value-added" (VA) approach. A teacher’s value-added is defined as the average test-score gain for his or her students, adjusted for differences across classrooms in student characteristics such as prior scores. School districts from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles have begun to use VA to evaluate teachers. Proponents argue that using VA can improve student achievement (e.g. Hanushek 2009), while critics argue that test score gains are poor proxies for a teacher’s true quality (e.g. Baker et al. 2010)
Overall, our study shows that great teachers create great value and that test score impacts are helpful in identifying such teachers. However, more work is needed to determine the best way to use VA for policy. For example, using VA in teacher evaluations could induce counterproductive responses that make VA a poorer measure of teacher quality, such as teaching to the test or cheating. There will be much to learn about these issues from school districts that start using VA to evaluate teachers. Nevertheless, it is clear that improving the quality of teaching – whether using value-added or other tools – is likely to have large economic and social returns.
+ Link to full paper (PDF; 721.98 KB)
+ Link to publication page for supporting materials
By Peggy Garvin
Peggy Garvin, of Garvin Information Consulting, is the author of United States Government Internet Directory (Bernan Press) and Real World Research Skills, 2009 (TheCapitol.Net). In her 20 years in the information business, Peggy has managed electronic information products and services in a variety of environments, including commercial publishing, e-commerce, law firms, and the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. Peggy's work has been recognized with the 2011 SLA Dow Jones Leadership Award. She has a Masters of Library Science degree from Syracuse University School of Information Studies.
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