Nations Top Statisticians Question Use of Value-Add

The American Statistical Association (ASA) the nationas leading group of statisticians recently released a statement of Valuee-add, that calls into question the whole premise of using this statistical measure for the purposes of evaluating teachers job performance. Their comments below:

  1. VAMs are complex statistical models, and high-level statistical expertise is needed to
    develop the models and [emphasis added] interpret their results.
  2. Estimates from VAMs should always be accompanied by measures of precision and a discussion of the assumptions and possible limitations of the model. These limitations are particularly relevant if VAMs are used for high-stakes purposes.
  3. VAMs are generally based on standardized test scores, and do not directly measure
    potential teacher contributions toward other student outcomes.
  4. VAMs typically measure correlation, not causation: Effects – positive or negative –
    attributed to a teacher may actually be caused by other factors that are not captured in the model.
  5. Under some conditions, VAM scores and rankings can change substantially when a
    different model or test is used, and a thorough analysis should be undertaken to
    evaluate the sensitivity of estimates to different models.
  6. VAMs should be viewed within the context of quality improvement, which distinguishes aspects of quality that can be attributed to the system from those that can be attributed to individual teachers, teacher preparation programs, or schools.
  7. Most VAM studies find that teachers account for about 1% to 14% of the variability in test scores, and that the majority of opportunities for quality improvement are found in the system-level conditions. Ranking teachers by their VAM scores can have unintended consequences that reduce quality.
  8. Attaching too much importance to a single item of quantitative information is counter-productive—in fact, it can be detrimental to the goal of improving quality.
  9. When used appropriately, VAMs may provide quantitative information that is relevant for improving education processes…[but only if used for descriptive/description purposes]. Otherwise, using VAM scores to improve education requires that they provide meaningful information about a teacher’s ability to promote student learning…[and they just do not do this at this point, as there is no research evidence to support this ideal].
  10. A decision to use VAMs for teacher evaluations might change the way the tests are viewed and lead to changes in the school environment. For example, more classroom time might be spent on test preparation and on specific content from the test at the exclusion of content that may lead to better long-term learning gains or motivation for students. Certain schools may be hard to staff if there is a perception that it is harder for teachers to achieve good VAM scores when working in them. Overreliance on VAM scores may foster a competitive environment, discouraging collaboration and efforts to improve the educational system as a whole.

You can read their whole document below.

ASA Statement on Using Value-Added Models for Educational Assessment

Share your comment:

Living in John Kasich's Ohio

Via Ohioans united

One of the best things we can do for every child is to see that he or she has a quality education. That’s something that will put them on a path to a bright future. Properly-funded public schools are essential if we are to ensure that all children – no matter where they live or who their parents are- receive the education they deserve. That’s why it is so disheartening to see Gov. Kasich shifting millions and millions of dollars from public schools into failing charter schools.

And remember – every dollar given to a failing charter school is a dollar less for traditional public schools. Since taking office, Kasich has cut more than half a billion dollars in state funding for public schools. The result is over 90% of public schools have had to make cuts, including teachers and course offerings.

To me, as a teacher and a mom, it is the height of irresponsibility for the governor to be taking money out of a system that provides a quality education to Ohio’s children and shift the funds into schools that are failing at an alarming rate. Ohio’s kids deserve better.

That’s why I’ve joined with Ohioans United to get the word out about Gov. Kasich’s harmful education policy. Watch the ad below and share it with your friends and family to make sure they know the truth about John Kasich’s record.

Share your comment:

So-Called Right to Work Is Still Wrong for Workers

Via HuffPo

The course is even more tenuous for ALEC and its supporters in the other states, with Ohio looking at a possible state constitutional amendment being placed on the November ballot while proposed measures in Maine and Pennsylvania appear to be the least likely to be approved.

There are many reasons for this. Despite what corporate cronies claim, so-called right-to-work doesn't create an environment that is good for workers or companies. In fact, a recent quality of life report released by Politico found the bottom five states -- Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama -- are right-to-work states. Meanwhile, four out of five with the highest quality of living -- New Hampshire, Minnesota, Vermont and Massachusetts -- are free bargaining states.

Right-to-work is a ruse. These laws depress wages, resulting in workers making about $1,500 less than those living in non-RTW states. They are also more likely not to receive health insurance and more likely to work in a dangerous workplace. In addition, it is proven not to be a deciding factor in where businesses locate.

Lawmakers must resist the cheap corporate rhetoric pushed by ALEC and others that makes right-to-work seem like a solution. It isn't. All it seems to help create is less pay, less freedom in the workplace and maybe most important of all, a smaller middle class. If that's seen by some as progress, government should be taking a pass on it.

Share your comment:

Teacher Supply and Demand in Ohio

The Ohio Education Research Center has just published an interesting report titled "2013 Teacher Supply and Demand in Ohio". Among its findings are:
Retirement rule changes have already resulted in major declines in teacher stocks. On average in Ohio, 6,000 teachers retire each year according to STRS annual reports. It is anticipated that high levels of retirement among teachers and administrators with 35+ years of service will continue. Retirement rates will likely level off and fall after July 2015 reflecting tighter eligibility requirements and less generous benefits. Mid-career teachers and administrators will find themselves “locked into” the system with less attractive retirement options making departures less likely. This is due to substantial pension wealth losses created by leaving the system early, especially if inflation accelerates. If low interest rates continue, further benefit reductions may be necessary.

The supply of new teacher license holders in Ohio varies across grade ranges and subject areas. Over a quarter of all new teachers licensed in Ohio in 2012 were in early childhood or prekindergarten through 3rd grade indicating a disproportionately large supply of early childhood teachers relative to teachers in the 4-12 grade range. Relatively few new teachers are trained in math and science compared to those trained in language arts and social studies.

There is a shift moving students and teachers from private schools to community schools. Private school enrollments and number of teachers are shrinking, while the number of community schools is growing. The first community schools were created in Ohio in 1998. Today they comprise slightly less than 10% of Ohio’s entire educational system. The number of people holding licenses for highly-skilled administrative jobs outnumbers the actual positions in Ohio. There are roughly five people who hold a superintendent license for every superintendent job, three people who hold a principal license for every principal position, and about two people who hold a financial license for every treasurer position. This oversupply has caused inflation adjusted administrative pay to fall over time.

Many people trained as teachers never become licensed. One sixth of graduates with a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in education were never licensed to teach in Ohio within five years of graduation.
Teacher supply is a big problem. Not only are many Ed graduates not becoming teachers, but many teachers quit within their first 5 years. Couple this with the uneven distribution of teachers across grades and subjects and one can see it is a problem that needs addressed. Instead what we have from law makers are policies designed to drive out even more teachers from the profession, and make the profession as unattractive to prospective new educators as possible. Provisions included in the Ohio House's substitute SB229 bill are obvious examples of this. The sub. bill added language that “prohibits a school district from assigning students to a teacher who has been rated “ineffective” for two consecutive school years”. the measure of being ineffective of course being the highly flawed and unstable OTES.

The report also notes that poor quality charter schools are driving out private schools. No doubt many parents are see charter schools as a fully funded private schooling system, rather than an alternative to traditional public schools. Given how charter schools are secretly operating their finances and increasingly being run by for-profit management companies, this isn't an erroneous assumption. What is erroneous however is the quality of the education being delivered by most charter schools in Ohio.

The financial mismanagement of charter schools has become so prevalent, even the dysfunctional Ohio General Assembly are beginning to notice
Democrats in the Ohio House and Senate pledged yesterday to introduce legislation that would require more transparency and accountability for operators and sponsors of charter schools.

Sen. Joe Schiavoni, of Boardman, and Rep. John Patrick Carney, of Columbus, said they will introduce companion bills in coming days. If approved, the legislation would provide the public with details about how privately operated charter schools spend the millions in tax dollars they receive each year.

“In 1998, there were only 15 charter schools in Ohio. Those 15 charters received $11 million in state funding. Today we spend $900 million on nearly 400 charter schools,” Schiavoni, the Senate minority leader, said at a Statehouse news conference.

“The growing problem is we don’t know how most of these taxpayer dollars are being spent.”

You can read the entire Ohio Education Research Center report here.

Share your comment:

What Makes This Time Different? It’s Not a Pendulum, It’s a Guillotine

Submitted by 4th grade teacher, Diane Valentino

I’ve only been a teacher for 23 years, but have been around long enough to teach through an impressive number of shifts in educational methods and doctrine. All of these have been well intentioned; although not all have been realistic and effective. After surviving a childhood filled with “New Math”, I burst onto the teaching scene filled with basal readers, workbooks and hand drawn bulletin boards! We were dealing with unfunded mandates and jumping through education reform hoops back then, so what is the difference now?

I’ve seen the reading pendulum swing from phonics only, to SRA’s to basal readers. The Whole Language movement reigned for quite a while, then refocused on to reading for comprehension, and other researched based programs designed to “redesign teaching”. Now, Close Reading is the newest best practice. Again, all with good intentions and always aiming at making our profession of education better. Math instruction has been reshaped, redesigned, reworked, and reimagined a hundred different ways! Skill and drill, manipulatives, MathTheir Way, Everyday, spiraling, Chicago, Singapore, are just a few of the packages I have opened and relearned, only to realize it all comes down to good teaching methods and the intuition to teach the children that are in front of you, not the ones in some far away pilot study. Good teachers have always known how to pick the best parts of all of the above and mold it into a balanced teaching program that, at the end of the day, met the needs of the 25-30 kids sitting in their classroom.

I’ve written courses of study, learning objectives, pupil performance objectives and curriculum maps. I’ve been told to stop teaching phonics, (I didn’t), only to have it come back repackaged and rebranded as “word study”. I’ve unpacked, backward designed and planned with “the end in mind”. Let’s not forget the dawn of formative assessment techniques right up to today’s world of SLO’s and data driven decisions, and finally, drumroll please…The Common Core.

Through it all, I’ve given standardized tests to my students. I’ve given the CAT, the ITBS, Terra Nova, Otis Lennon, In View, Ohio Proficiency Test, OAA’s, and I’m sure a few more in addition to those. I’ve told my students to “just do you best” when I wasn’t allowed to give clarification on questions they could easily have answered if it was formatted a different way…you, know…for different types of learners (i.e. humans). Those “why are you abandoning me?” eyes would cut through any teacher’s heart.

Then, there are the “oh so helpful” political contributions to the world of public education. From Why Johnny Can’t Read, A Nation at Risk, right up through NCLB, and now, today’s Race To The Top, STEM and PARCC. Throw in anything that the Koch’s have contributed and you have “the perfect storm”. I’ve seen unfunded mandates, endured Education Governors, and watched as my profession has been thrown under the big yellow bus so many times we have permanent tire tracks running down our backsides.

I’ve been paid less than, and have been teased by “business professionals” who asked why I stayed in teaching when their quarterly bonuses were the size of my annual salary? (1990’s) Fast forward a few years, and I was told I make too much money “just for being a teacher”, by those same business professionals that boomed and lost their fair weather fortunes. I’ve had my future pension gambled away by an unregulated market only to be blamed by local and state governments that my pension is bankrupting the municipality.

SO WHAT IS DIFFERENT THIS TIME?

Why am I so enraged and afraid for the actual existence of Public Education?

The first punch in the face comes from a little known (to the general public that doesn’t take interest in politics…) 2010 Supreme Court Decision called “Citizen’s United”. This gave corporations the same “rights” as people when it comes to contributing to political campaigns. This means, corporations can, in fact, contribute to lawmakers campaigns and EXPECT payment back in the forms of laws that divert public money into said corporations.

Enter face punch #2: What better marketplace than a 500 billion dollar U.S. Education market? As the Education Reform corporations (Pearson, Gates Foundation, Achieve, In-Bloom, White Hat, SAT, Venture, etc.), lick their chops at the thought of getting a piece of 500 billion dollar pie, a generation of students is being used, abused and spit back out into a world that expects them to be “college and career ready”. It seems clear to see that the corporate “formula for success” is to rig the education game by buying laws that allow education reformers to create a formula that ensures public schools fail, (happening RIGHT NOW), while EXEMPTING private schools from some of the same rules, then make a financial killing on “for profit” schools.

It seems so simple. Why aren’t parents, tax payers and teachers camping out on their congressman’s front lawn and demanding their elected officials stop cheating them? Do they really think it will save tax dollars? If they do believe that, then they probably believe that state lotteries “fund” education and senior programs. FOLLOW THE MONEY. This is not the same old game. This time it’s different.

Diane Valentino
4th Grade Teacher
Twitter: @d_val1

Share your comment:

May 2014 School levies and issues

149 school levies and issues will appear on the May 6th primary ballots across the state. The majority, 78, are renewals, with 58 asking for new or additional monies, the remainder are substitute or replacement levies.

The table below lists all the issues and levies that will appear on ballots. When you vote, we urge all the supporters of Join the Future to consider supporting their local schools.

County Distrcit Type Description
Allen Allen East Local School District Levy Renewal
Allen Bluffton Exempted Village School Dist Levy Renewal
Allen Delphos City School District Levy Renewal
Allen Delphos City School District Levy Renewal
Allen Perry Local School District Levy Renewal
Athens Trimble Local School District Levy Additional
Athens Athens City School District Income Tax Renewal
Auglaize St. Marys City School District Levy Renewal
Auglaize New Bremen Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Belmont Bellaire Local School District Levy Additional
Belmont Union Local School District Income Tax Additional
Brown Ripley Union Lewis Huntington LSD Levy Additional
Butler Middletown City School District Combo Additional
Butler Fairfield City School District Combo Additional
Champaign Mechanicsburg Ex Village School Dist Levy Renewal
Champaign Triad Local School District Income Tax Additional
Clark Greenon Local School District Levy Additional
Clark Tecumseh Local School District Levy Renewal
Clark Tecumseh Local School District Levy Renewal
Clark Clark-Shawnee Local School District Levy Additional
Clinton East Clinton Local School District Levy Renewal
Columbiana Beaver Local School District Levy Renewal
Columbiana United Local School District Levy Renewal
Columbiana Wellsville Local School District Levy Renewal
Coshocton Coshocton Co. Jt Vocational Sch Dist Levy Additional
Crawford Colonel Crawford Local School District Levy Additional
Cuyahoga North Royalton City School District Bond N/A
Cuyahoga Olmsted Falls City School District Bond N/A
Cuyahoga Brooklyn City School District Levy Renewal
Cuyahoga Parma City School District Levy Renewal
Cuyahoga Shaker Heights City School District Levy Additional
Darke Greenville City School District Levy Renewal
Defiance Ayersville Local School District Combo Additional
Defiance Defiance City School District Bond N/A
Erie Perkins Local School District Levy Additional
Erie Sandusky City School District Levy Renewal
Fairfield Walnut Twp Local School District Levy Additional
Fairfield Berne Union Local School District Income Tax Replacement
Fairfield Liberty Union Thurston Local Sch Dist Income Tax Renewal
Franklin Groveport Madison Local School Dist Combo Additional
Franklin Canal Winchester Local School Dist. Levy Substitute
Fulton Pike Delta York Local School District Levy Renewal
Fulton Swanton Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Geauga Newbury Local School District Levy Additional
Greene Greeneview Local School District Income Tax Additional
Hamilton Loveland City School District Levy Additional
Hancock Van Buren Local School District Bond N/A
Hancock Findlay City School District Levy Renewal
Hancock Arcadia Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Hancock McComb Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Hardin Ada Exempted Village School District Levy Renewal
Henry Liberty Center Local School District Combo Additional
Henry Patrick Henry Local School District Levy Replacement
Huron Norwalk City School District Levy Additional
Huron Willard City School District Levy Renewal
Jefferson Edison Local School District Levy Additional
Jefferson Jefferson Co Jt Vocational School Dist. Levy Renewal
Knox Danville Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Lake Kirtland Local School District Levy Renewal
Lake Madison Local School District Levy Additional
Lake Riverside Local School District Levy Substitute
Licking Southwest Licking Local School Dist. Bond N/A
Licking Johnstown-Monroe Local School Dist. Combo Additional
Licking Granville Ex Village School District Levy Renewal
Licking Northridge Local School District Levy Renewal
Logan Indian Lake Local School District Levy Renewal
Logan West Liberty-Salem Local School Dist. Levy Renewal
Lorain Elyria City School District Levy Renewal
Lorain Keystone Local School District Levy Additional
Lorain Sheffield/Sheffield Lake CSD Levy Renewal
Lorain Sheffield/Sheffield Lake CSD Levy Renewal
Lorain Wellington Ex Village School District Levy Renewal
Lucas Sylvania City School District Levy Additional
Lucas Springfield Local School District Levy Additional
Madison Madison-Plains Local School District Levy Renewal
Madison Jefferson Local School District Income Tax Additional
Madison Jonathan Alder Local School District Income Tax Additional
Mahoning Austintown Local School District Bond N/A
Mahoning Boardman Local School District Levy Renewal
Mahoning Boardman Local School District Levy Renewal
Mahoning Poland Local School District Levy Renewal
Mahoning Springfield Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Mahoning West Branch Local School District Income Tax Additional
Marion Ridgedale Local School District Combo Additional
Marion Pleasant Local School District Levy Additional
Marion River Valley Local School District Levy Additional
Marion Tri-Rivers Jt Vocational School District Levy Renewal
Marion Tri-Rivers Jt Vocational School District Levy Replacement
Medina Cloverleaf Local School District Combo Additional
Medina Brunswick City School District Levy Renewal
Mercer Parkway Local School District Levy Renewal
Mercer St. Henry Consolidated LSD Levy Renewal
Miami Bethel Local School District Bond N/A
Miami Piqua City School District Levy Renewal
Miami Tipp City Ex Village School District Levy Renewal
Montgomery Brookville Local School District Levy Additional
Morrow Mt. Gilead Ex Village School District Income Tax Additional
Muskingum Franklin Local School District Levy Additional
Muskingum Zanesville City School District Levy Renewal
Ottawa Danbury Local School District Levy Additional
Ottawa Genoa Area Local School District Levy Additional
Perry Southern Local School District Levy Additional
Pickaway Logan Elm Local School District Combo Additional
Portage Aurora City School District Levy Renewal
Portage Field Local School District Levy Additional
Portage Ravenna City School District Levy Additional
Portage Rootstown Local School District Levy Renewal
Portage Southeast Local School District Levy Renewal
Preble National Trail Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Preble Tri-County North Local School District Income Tax Additional
Richland Lexington Local School District Levy Renewal
Ross Union-Scioto Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Seneca Bettsville Local School District Levy Additional
Seneca Hopewell-Loudon Local School District Levy Renewal
Seneca Tiffin City School District Levy Renewal
Seneca Mohawk Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Shelby Botkins Local School District Levy Renewal
Shelby Russia Local School District Levy Renewal
Shelby Sidney City School District Levy Renewal
Shelby Fort Loramie Local School District Income Tax Additional
Stark Fairless Local School District Levy Additional
Stark Jackson Local School District Levy Renewal
Stark Osnaburg Local School District Levy Additional
Stark Northwest Local School District Income Tax Renewal
Summit Green Local School District Levy Renewal
Summit Manchester Local School District Levy Renewal
Summit Mogadore Local School District Levy Additional
Summit Woodridge Local School District Levy Renewal
Trumbull Mathews Local School District Combo Additional
Trumbull Bristol Local School District Levy Renewal
Trumbull Howland Local School District Levy Additional
Trumbull Lakeview Local School District Levy Renewal
Trumbull Liberty Local School District Levy Renewal
Trumbull Liberty Local School District Levy Renewal
Trumbull Southington Local School District Levy Additional
Tuscarawas Dover City School District Combo Additional
Tuscarawas Claymont City School District Levy Renewal
Tuscarawas New Philadelphia City School District Levy Additional
Tuscarawas Tuscarawas Valley Local School District Levy Additional
Union North Union Local School District Levy Renewal
Warren Franklin Local School District Levy Additional
Washington Belpre City School District Levy Renewal
Washington Warren Local School District Levy Renewal
Wayne Rittman Exempted Village School Dist Levy Renewal
Wayne Triway Local School District Levy Renewal
Williams North Central Local School District Bond N/A
Williams Millcreek West Unity Local School Dist Levy Additional
Wood Northwood Local School District Combo Additional
Wyandot Carey Exempted Village School Dist. Income Tax Renewal

Share your comment:

Get Involved

 Email*
 First Name
 Last Name
 School District

Search