Stuart S. Yen: VAM is Neither Valid Nor Reliable

Diane Ravitch's blog

Stuart S. Yen, a professor at the University of Minnesota, contends in this article in the TC Record that value-added-modeling is neither valid nor reliable.

He reviews the existing literature and notes that VAM is now used to hire, fire, promote, and reward teachers, all high-stakes decisions.

He writes:

In principle, value-added modeling (VAM) might be justified if it can be shown to be a more reliable indicator of teacher quality than existing indicators for existing low-stakes decisions that are already being made, such as the award of small merit bonuses. However, a growing number of researchers now advocate the use of VAM to identify and replace large numbers of low-performing teachers. There is a need to evaluate these proposals because the active termination of large numbers of teachers based on VAM requires a much higher standard of reliability and validity. Furthermore, these proposals must be evaluated to determine if…

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