From One Teacher to Another: VAM is Junk Science

After Kafkateach stated that his/her VAM scores were poor because he/she is a teacher of gifted students and have no way to go higher, this response came from Chris in Florida:

We’re in this together here in Florida, kafkateach. I am National Board certified, have 2 masters degrees (only 1 is in education), 20+ years of experience, and was named a Teacher of the Year by three different programs in my district.

Now my Title I school is graded “F” after they hiked the cut scores yet again last year and I will be following you to the unemployment office in another year or two. Should be interesting to see how they plan to staff the school after they have fired the roughly 85% of us who work in “failing” schools around the state.

My VAM came from 4th and 5th graders’ scores — students I have never taught because I moved to this school a couple of years ago, and I teach 1st grade.

Here is my advice to teachers who are unfairly rated by the spurious method called “value-added assessment”: Sue them.

VAM was first developed by an agricultural statistician, not an educator. It has been imposed by the U.S. Department of Education as a condition of applying for Race to the Top funding.

It has no basis in science, unless you are a vegetable or a grain.

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