Description: States are increasingly interested in including measures of student achievement growth, or "value added," in evaluating teachers. All five jurisdictions in the Mid-Atlantic region have secured federal Race to the Top funding, which requires that their teacher evaluation systems incorporate measures of growth in student performance. But the typical measure of student growth—progress on state assessments from one school year to the next—usually covers only reading and math and only in grades 4–8. Thus a growing number of states and school districts are exploring alternatives. This literature review of alternatives to state assessments for assessing teachers' contributions to student achievement growth examines two general approaches to the challenge. One approach applies statistical value-added methods to outcomes other than standard state assessments. The second approach requires teachers to develop student learning objectives at the beginning of the school year; these can be used in instructional planning as well as evaluation.
What student outcome measures other than state standardized test scores are currently being used in growth measures or value-added models (VAMs) to evaluate schools, principals, and teachers?
What evidence is there about the reliability of these alternative student outcomes for use in growth measures or VAMs?
What is the correlation between estimates based on alternative student outcome measures and estimates from VAMs that use state standardized tests?
What are the benefits and drawbacks of using each alternative VAM/growth measure?
Study Design: The literature search will cover both qualitative and quantitative studies. The qualitative data, drawn from discussion papers, news articles, and other documents, will be used to identify measures in use for which there is not yet quantitative empirical evidence or to describe the implementation, including the logistical advantages and disadvantages of each measure. The quantitative data will be drawn from publicly available academic papers and reports produced by school districts and states.
Research Alliance: Teacher Evaluation Research Alliance, REL Mid-Atlantic
Keywords: Educator Performance Evaluation; Teacher Evaluation or Effectiveness; Standards, Assessments, Accountability (includes Common Core); Literature Review