Friday, February 24, 2012

Gates Weighs In as New York City Releases 'Value Added' Scores

This from Teacher Beat:
New York City will release to news outlets tomorrow "value added" reports that purport to estimate a teacher's impact on his or her students' standardized test scores—an action certain to thrust discussion of these measures into the public eye once again, and one that also raises big questions about journalism ethics.

The city teachers' union, the United Federation of Teachers, has doggedly tried to prevent such a release. But its last legal defense fell last week, when the state's supreme court declined to hear the union's appeal to a ruling requiring such a release under open-records laws—with teachers' names attached.

That means that it will be up to individual news outlets in the state to make a determination about how, and under what conditions, they will use this information or make it available.

This is a more complicated question than you might think. If they do choose to make the information available, with teachers' names attached, will there be disclosures about the limitations of these data? Will it include margins of error around the results? The Shanker Institute's Matthew DiCarlo has an interesting discussion about many of these factors.

Stepping into the fray, seemingly as a preventive measure, is Bill Gates. He penned an op-ed in The New York Times that calls publicly revealing individual teachers' scores "a big mistake."...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know a lot about Bill Gates, but seems like the guy made a ton of money in technology. And though I admire his willingness to spend a portion of his wealth on American Education, with all due respect, who died and made him the expert on education reform? I understand that he can pay for a lot of well informed advice, but really? really? really?