Making better teachers: the fight over "value-added" evaluations

Nov 22, 2010

When it comes to trying to improve student performance in public schools, many factors come together. One of the major issues is teacher performance and how best to judge teacher effectiveness. The “value-added” approach attempts statistically to show how an individual teacher can make a difference – positively or negatively – in how students do, regardless of class size or background. Recent articles in the Los Angeles Times about this controversial method have sparked a nationwide debate, which has pitted President Obama’s Secretary of Education against teacher unions and many academics. The Los Angeles Unified School District is in the midst of asking for outside proposals to determine the most reliable way of judging teacher success. The district has gone on record that one of the components they want to include is “value-added” analysis. But is this the best way to grade teachers? Does the public have a right to see the results? And what role should subjective evaluations and student performance play?

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Check out KPCC's interactive on educators' responses to teacher evaluations.</a>

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