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January 23, 2013

John Thompson: The Gates Foundation Leapt, Now MET Looks

What would have happened if the Gates Foundation's Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) research had been conducted before the "Billionaires Boys Club's" preferences were codified into law in Race to the Top and the Department of Education's NCLB waiver requirements? How would their final report, "Ensuring Fair and Reliable Measures of Effective Teaching," read if its findings were reported before value-added evaluations were imposed on the nation's schools? Even if the same researchers had used the same methodology and made identical findings, how would that evidence have been presented?

November 05, 2012

John Thompson: New Research Uncovers Fresh Trouble for VAM Evaluations

Guest post by John Thompson. As more and more schools implement various forms of Value-Added method (VAM) evaluation systems, we are learning some disturbing things about how reliable these methods are. Education Week's Stephan Sawchuk, in "'Value-Added' Measures at Secondary Level Questioned," e...

November 03, 2012

Is Seniority for Teachers Bad for Students?

Yesterday's post challenging the ability of some education reform "liberals" to shed core values such as support for unions, desegregation and the institution of public education apparently hit some sensitive nerves. In particular, Chris Arnold, whom we recently saw praising the "parent trigger" mo...

October 19, 2012

John Thompson: Gates Foundation's MET Project Has Leaped Before Looking

Guest post by John Thompson. The Measures of Effective Teaching Project (MET) is the Gates Foundation's flagship effort to fill what they believe is a huge void in the teaching profession. According to them, up until this project, there was no way to know how effective any given teacher is. Their g...

October 01, 2012

John Thompson's Book Review: "VAM in Education" -- Who has the Burden of Proof?

Guest post by John Thompson. Douglas Harris' Value-Added Measures in Education is a masterpiece. Even in the places where I believe Harris is mistaken, he identifies the core issues involved in using value-added for evaluations. My big complaint is Harris' agnosticism about who carries the burden...

September 12, 2012

Chicago Reminds Us Why We Have Unions

Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody The strike by Chicago teachers is reminding all of us of the reason we have unions, and the reason why they are so feared and hated by those who are in command. The ability of these 29,000 teachers to act as one, to withhold their labor, gives them a power far ...

August 08, 2012

Responding to the Gates Foundation: How do we Consider Evidence of Learning in Teacher Evaluations?

Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody This post is the second round in a five-part exchange with the Gates Foundation. This is a response to yesterday's post from Vicki Phillips, How do we Consider Evidence of Student Learning in Teacher Evaluations? This post can also be viewed and commented on o...

June 19, 2012

Designer of Value-Added Tests a Skeptic About Current Test Mania

Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody Defenders of our current obsession over test scores claim that new, better tests will rescue us from the educational stagnation caused by a test prep curriculum. And one of those new types of tests is an adaptive test, which adjusts the difficulty of questions a...

June 04, 2012

A Florida Teacher Explains Why She Thinks VAM is a Scam

Guest post by kafkateach, originally posted at her blog here. In my previous post about VAM, I chose to discredit value added models on a purely humanistic level and to leave the attacks on the validity and reliability of the algorithm to the mathematicians. In the past week, I have learned so muc...

April 23, 2012

Pineapplegate Raises Fresh Questions about the Obama Administration's Expansion of Testing

Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody The recent debacle in New York over an absurd story about a pineapple racing a hare has renewed doubts about the degree to which we have come to rely on test scores for very high stakes decisions. Although it is clear we are not getting high quality information ...

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