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ERIC Number: ED528389
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 24
False Performance Gains: A Critique of Successive Cohort Indicators. Working Paper
Glazerman, Steven M.; Potamites, Liz
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
There are many ways to use student test scores to evaluate schools. This paper defines and examines different estimators, including regression-based value-added indicators, average gains, and successive cohort differences in achievement levels. Given that regression-based indicators are theoretically preferred but not always feasible, we consider whether simpler alternatives provide acceptable approximations. We argue that average gain indicators potentially can provide useful information, but differences across successive cohorts, such as grade trends, which are commonly cited in the popular press and used in the Safe Harbor provision of federal school accountability laws, are flawed and can be misleading when used for school accountability or program evaluation. (Contains 5 tables, 2 figures and 7 endnotes.)
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. P.O. Box 2393, Princeton, NJ 08543-2393. Tel: 609-799-3535; Fax: 609-799-0005; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.