News in Brief
Florida Releases 'Value Added' Data on Teachers' Performance Reviews
Florida has become the latest state, after New York and Ohio, to release "value added" data on its teachers to news outlets, after losing an open-records battle in the courts to The Florida Times-Union.
State officials warned against using the data to judge teachers' performance, but the newspaper has created a database that will allow the public to look up individual names and scores.
Value-added is a statistical method that aims to isolate the impact of each teacher on his or her students' standardized-test scores. Generally, it uses past performance to predict how well a student should do, then compares it with what that student actually learned, while controlling for demographic factors.
The teachers' union condemned the release. "Once again the state of Florida puts test scores above everything else in public education, and once again it provides false data that misleads more than it informs," Florida Education Association President Andy Ford said in a statement.
The FEA and its parent, the National Education Association, sued the state last year over the teacher-evaluation system, which includes value-added measures. The unions say the model unfairly grades teachers on the performance of students they don't teach and in subjects they don't teach.
"So for 70 percent or more of teachers, the VAM does not even attempt to measure the teacher's actual teaching and yet the VAM data released purports to rank their performance," say the unions.
Vol. 33, Issue 23, Page 5