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ERIC Number: EJ1032952
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Choosing the Right Growth Measure
Ehlert, Mark; Koedel, Cory; Parsons, Eric; Podgursky, Michael
Education Next, v14 n2 p66-71 Spr 2014
State education agencies and school districts are increasingly using measures based on student test-score growth in their systems for evaluating school and teacher performance. In many cases, these systems inform high-stakes decisions such as which schools to close and which teachers to retain. Performance metrics tied directly to student test-score growth are appealing because although schools and teachers differ dramatically in their effects on student achievement, researchers have had great difficulty linking these performance differences to characteristics that are easily observed and measured. The question of how best to measure student testscore growth for the purpose of school and teacher evaluation has fueled lively debates nationwide. This study examines three competing approaches to measuring growth in student achievement. The first approach, which is typical of systems using the popular student growth percentile (SGP) framework, eschews all controls for differences in student backgrounds and schooling environments. The second approach, typically associated with value-added models (VAM), controls for student background characteristics and under some conditions can be used to identify the causal effects of schools and teachers on student achievement. The third approach is also VAM-based, but fully levels the playing field between schools and teachers by eliminating any association between school- and teacher-level measures of test-score growth and student characteristics. The author examines the appeal of these three approaches in the context of a system for evaluating schools, although the substance of the findings also applies to evaluations of teachers and districts. It is concluded that the third approach is preferable in the context of educational evaluations for several reasons: it encourages educators in all schools to work hard; it provides performance data useful for improving instruction system-wide; and it avoids exacerbating labor-market inequities between schools serving advantaged and disadvantaged students.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A