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Why Should Talent Managers Care About Value-Added?

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While speaking at a conference in Reno, Nevada last year, I had Human Resource Directors from three states approach me with questions about value-added analysis and how it might impact their work in the coming years. More and more states and districts across the country are using value-added data to inform teacher and leader development, evaluate educator performance, compensate employees, influence job placements, and other human capital decisions.

The National Council on Teacher Quality's "State of the States 2012: Teacher Effectiveness Policies" report offers a glimpse into changes in K-12 teacher evaluation policy across the country over the past year. According to the report, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Tennessee are all using student achievement/growth as the "preponderant factor" in teacher evaluations, compared to the four states who utilized this data in 2009. In Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania measures of student achievement/growth are required to "significantly" inform teacher evaluations.

As states continue to adopt value-added measures as part of their educational-improvement efforts, it is important for talent managers to understand what it is, the strengths and weaknesses of value-added models, and how growth data can be used to inform human capital systems in education. Over the next several weeks, I will team with Denette Kolbe, Assistant Director of Schools in the Putnam County (TN) School System and a value-added expert, to share lessons and critical questions around value-added for talent managers. Denette has been an educator for 19 years as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, and Data & Accountability Supervisor at the district level. She is also a Regional Value-Added Specialist for the Tennessee Department of Education and has given numerous presentations on value-added to teachers, principals, and administrators in Tennessee and nationally.

Denette and I will cover several topics, including:
• What is value-added?
• How does value-added differ from achievement?
• What are the potential benefits of value-added?
• What are the potential pitfalls of value-added?
• How can bad data erode trust?
• How can value-added data be used for improvement?
• Value-added and non-tested teachers
• Selecting a value-added provider
• Examples of states and districts using value-added to support improvement
• Additional resources to build understanding around value-added

As education becomes more data-driven, states and districts will continue to look to value-added and other measures of educator effectiveness to inform teacher and leader hiring, development, retention, compensation, and other human capital issues. With a better understanding of value-added, talent managers can more effectively contribute to these important decisions and support teachers and leaders.

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The opinions expressed in K-12 Talent Manager are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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