In an effort to help policy makers understand the current strengths and limitations of value-added models, as well as to make decisions about whether to implement them in their jurisdictions, the National Research Council and the National Academy of Education jointly held a workshop on the topic on November 13 and 14, 2008, in Washington, DC. The workshop was funded by the Carnegie Corporation.

A committee chaired by Henry Braun of Boston College planned and facilitated the workshop. The event was designed to cover several topics related to value-added models: goals and uses, measurement issues, analytic issues, and possible consequences. The committee identified experts in each of these areas to write papers for presentation at the workshop and to serve as discussants. The workshop agenda and a list of participants appear in Appendix A. Biographical sketches of committee members and staff appear in Appendix B. The background papers and workshop transcript are posted on the National Research Council website at

This report documents the information provided in the workshop presentations and discussions. Its purpose is to lay out the key ideas that emerged from the two-day workshop and should be viewed as an initial step in examining the research and applying it in specific policy circumstances. The statements in the report are confined to the material presented by the workshop speakers and participants. Neither the workshop nor this summary is intended as a comprehensive review of what is known about value-added methodology, although it is a general reflection of the literature. The presentations and discussions were limited by the time available for the workshop.

Although this report was prepared by the committee, it does not represent findings or recommendations that can be attributed to the committee members. The report summarizes views expressed by workshop participants, and the committee is responsible only for its overall quality and accuracy as a record of what transpired at a two-day event. The workshop was also not designed to generate consensus conclusions or recommendations but focused instead on the identification of ideas, themes, and considerations that contribute to understanding the current role of value-added models in educational settings.


The term “value-added” is used in manufacturing to refer to the difference between the value of the output and the cost of the raw materials. In education, the term is used more loosely because value-added in terms of changes in test scores is less tangible than value-added in terms of some

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