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ERIC Number: ED560146
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Oct
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
How Might We Use Multiple Measures for Teacher Accountability? What We Know Series: Value-Added Methods and Applications. Knowledge Brief 11
Harris, Douglas N.
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
The idea that multiple measures should be used when evaluating teachers is widely accepted. Multiple measures are important not only because education has multiple goals, but because each measure is an imperfect indicator of any given goal. For a variety of reasons, states and districts use multiple measures in one particular way: to make personnel decisions about teachers based on a weighted average of the separate measures. Also known as a "composite" or "index," the weighted average provides one bottom-­line metric through which teachers can be placed into performance categories. The federal Race to the Top (RTTT) initiative is one reason why states and districts use the weighted average. This competitive grants program required states to hold teachers accountable in a way that made student test scores a "significant factor" in personnel decisions. The meaning of this term is never explained, and the most likely way to meet the vague requirement was to assign large or significant weight--50 percent in some cases--to measures of student achievement growth, such as value-added. While weighted averages are a common and intuitive approach for using multiple measures, there are other options that have their own advantages. In this brief, Douglas Harris also considers the "matrix" and "screening" approaches, which do not involve combining multiple measures. After describing and comparing the weighting, matrix, and screening methods, Harris discusses their strengths and weaknesses according to specific criteria. More than anything else, this brief contributes some new and concrete ways of thinking about how value-added and other measures are used in accountability systems.
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 51 Vista Lane, Stanford, CA 94305. Tel: 650-566-5102; Fax: 650-326-0278; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
IES Funded: Yes