Value-Added Models to Evaluate Teachers: A Cry For Help

This essay was extracted from Howard Wainer’s book Uneducated Guesses: A Leisurely Tour of Some Educational Policies That Only Make Sense If You Say Them Fast, to be published this year by Princeton University Press.

Race to the Top, the Obama administration’s program to help reform American education, has much to recommend it—not the least of which is the infusion of much needed money. So it came as no surprise to anyone that resource-starved states rushed headlong to submit modified education programs that would qualify them for some of the windfall. A required aspect of all such reforms is the use of student performance data to judge the quality of districts and teachers. This is a fine idea, not original to Race to the Top.

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