Considerations Regarding Release of Individual Teacher Value-Added Scores

Background on Value-Added Modeling and AIR’s Value-Added Work
  • Educator evaluation systems should include multiple measures of performance, including measures of instructional practice. Student outcome measures can serve as one aspect of a comprehensive evaluation system. Value-added measures or other outcome measures should never be the sole measure of an educator's effectiveness. No picture of educator performance is complete without multiple measures.  
  • New educator evaluation systems are designed to help systems improve and ultimately assure better outcomes for all students. We encourage practitioners and policymakers to focus on actions taken to improve student learning as a result of evaluation information, not solely on evaluation scores or value-added scores themselves.
  • Value-added results are statistical estimates. As with all statistical estimates, value-added estimates have a margin of error. We encourage our clients to formally recognize the margin of error in the ways that they use the results.
  • AIR’s role in value-added projects is that of a technical advisor and partner. We work with states and districts (and their stakeholders) who are making decisions about developing and using value-added scores given the available data and policy context. We typically offer a series of options for which particular types of statistical models can be used, analyze data using a selected model, and provide results for use in educator evaluation with appropriate measures of statistical confidence. AIR always works with its partners to understand the precision and reliability of results in considering how to use them for educator evaluation.
Release of Individual Teacher Value-Added Scores

Individual teacher value-added scores should not be publicly released for at least two reasons:

  • Protection of teacher privacy. Individual student test scores are never released publicly; individual teacher scores based on those same test scores should not be released either.
  • Public release does not enhance effective accountability. Schools and school systems are responsible for providing students with a high quality education. Parents and the public need clear measures of effectiveness to hold them accountable. Parents and the public, however, are not responsible for the management of the personnel in the school. Schools and school systems meet their responsibility to provide a high quality education, in part, by managing their personnel. Schools and school systems have much greater insight into teachers’ performance than a value-added score can capture or convey. Release of value-added scores risks deflecting responsibility for providing a high quality education away from schools and school systems by focusing public attention on individual teachers.