The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of School Planning & Management magazine.

NASSP Statement Rejects Value-Added Measurement in Teacher Evaluation

Reston, Va. The NASSP Board of Directors has given preliminary approval to a statement that rejects the use of Value-Added Measurement systems to make decisions about retention, dismissal and compensation of teachers and principals.

Value-added measurement (VAM)--statistical measures of student growth, which employ complex algorithms to determine teacher contributions to their students’ learning—has become a common element of teacher and principal evaluation systems. Lured by the promise of a statistical measurement for effective teaching, state policymakers have incorporated VAM to account for as much as 50% of an overall evaluation. These policies have been instituted over the consistent objections of researchers who have identified systematic biases and other inherent flaws in VAM systems.

“We are using value-added measurement in a way that the science does not yet support,” said Mel Riddile, a former National Principal of the Year and chief architect of the NASSP statement. “We have to make it very clear to policymakers that using a flawed measurement both misrepresents student growth and does a disservice to the educators who live the work each day.”

The statement further points to a series of current initiatives that conspire to depress student growth scores. The new evaluations coincide with the adoption of more rigorous college- and career-ready standards accompanied by new assessments. “The fears accompanying any new evaluation system have been magnified by the inclusion of data that will get worse before it gets better,” the statement says. “Principals are concerned that the new evaluation systems are eroding trust and are detrimental to building a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement necessary to successfully raise student performance to college and career-ready levels.”

The statement includes a series of recommendations for teacher evaluation, including the use of multiple observations and multiple data sources. NASSP also recommends that principals use VAM to measure school improvement, to determine the effectiveness of programs and instructional methods, and to target professional development activities. The statements calls on states and districts to make the data available so principals can make such decisions in a timely manner.

At its November meeting, the NASSP’s Board of Directors stated its intent to adopt the statement. Following a 60-day comment period ending January 5, the board will consider final adoption of the statement during its February 2015 meeting at NASSP Conference Ignite ’15 in San Diego, CA.

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