Value Added Meets the Schools: The Effects of Using Test-Based Teacher Evaluation on the Work of Teachers and Leaders

The March 2015 issue of Educational Researcher was devoted to the perceived usefulness/uselessness (depending on the perceiver) of high-stakes testing. The issue contains multiple perspectives from teachers, principals, and education researchers. The abstract from the journal’s editors sets the tone for the issue:

Teacher accountability based on teacher value-added measures could have far-reaching effects on classroom instruction
and student learning, for good and for ill. To date, however, research has focused almost entirely on the statistical
properties of the measures. While a useful starting point, the validity and reliability of the measures tell us very little
about the effects on teaching and learning that come from embedding value added into policies like teacher evaluation,
tenure, and compensation. We pose dozens of unanswered questions, not only about the net effects of these policies on
measurable student outcomes, but about the numerous, often indirect ways in which these and less easily observed effects
might arise. Drawing in part on other articles in the special issue, we consider perspectives from labor economics, sociology
of organizations, and psychology. Some of the pathways of these policy effects directly influence teaching and learning
and in intentional ways, while other pathways are indirect and unintentional. While research is just beginning to answer the
key questions, a key initial theme of recent research is that both the opponents and advocates are partly correct about the
influence of these policies.

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