Thompson: EdTrust Value-Added Solution Would Make Things Worse
The Education Trust has issued another report downplaying the evidence that undermines its agenda. "Learning Denied," by Carrie Hahnel and Orville Jackson, again calls for more testing to improve teacher quality at the schools where it is harder to raise test scores. Hahnel and Jackson admit that 11% of the students of even the most effective teachers see declines in their test scores to "below basic." This is an important reminder that there is life, death, and other tragedies outside of the classroom; when there is a downturn in a student's test score trajectory, the decline may not be caused by ineffective teaching. In addition, the EdTrust emphasizes that high value-added English Language Arts teachers in low value-added schools are twice as likely to transfer to low poverty schools but it did not mention the most obvious explanation: the stress of dealing with kids who are more likely to be dealing with extreme trauma. Adding more high-stress testing to the challenges faced in the toughest schools might not be a good way to keep the best teachers in the schools where it is harder to raise test scores. The real issue that needs to be researched is whether teachers with high value-added in effective schools could continue to make the same gains in the toughest schools. Otherwise, value-added evaluations would accelerate the exodus from poor schools. (@drjohnthompson) Image via.