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Getting Value Out of Value-Added: Report of a Workshop
Henry Braun summed up the analytic discussion by stating: “To nobody’s surprise, there is not one dominant VAM.” Each major class of models has shortcomings, there is no consensus on the best approaches, and little work has been done on synthesizing the best aspects of each approach. There are questions about the accuracy and stability of value-added estimates of schools, teachers, or program effects. More needs to be learned about how these properties differ, using different value-added techniques and under different conditions. Most of the workshop participants argued that steps need to be taken to improve accuracy if the estimates are to be used as a primary indicator for high-stakes decisions; rather, value-added estimates should best be used in combination with other indicators. But most thought that the degree of precision and stability does seem sufficient to justify low-stakes uses of value-added results for research, evaluation, or improvement when there are no serious consequences for individual teachers, administrators, or students.