Getting Value Out of Value-Added
REPORT OF A WORKSHOP
Henry Braun, Naomi Chudowsky, and Judith Koenig, Editors
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Award No. B 8204 between the National Academy of Sciences and Carnegie Corporation of New York. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-14813-9
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-14813-8
Additional copies of this report are available from
National Academies Press,
500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu.
Copyright 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: National Research Council and National Academy of Education. (2010). Getting Value Out of Value-Added: Report of a Workshop. Committee on Value-Added Methodology for Instructional Improvement, Program Evaluation, and Educational Accountability, Henry Braun, Naomi Chudowsky, and Judith Koenig, Editors. Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON VALUE-ADDED METHODOLOGY FOR INSTRUCTIONAL IMPROVEMENT, PROGRAM EVALUATION, AND EDUCATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY
Henry Braun (Chair),
Lynch School of Education, Boston College
Education Policy Center, Urban Institute, Washington, DC
Department of Economics, Boston University
Scott F. Marion,
National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, Dover, New Hampshire
Loretta A. Shepard,
School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder
Judith D. Singer,
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Mark R. Wilson,
Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley
Naomi Chudowsky, Costudy Director
Judith A. Koenig, Costudy Director
Stuart W. Elliott, Director,
Board on Testing and Assessment
Kelly Duncan, Senior Program Assistant
Value-added methods refer to efforts to estimate the relative contributions of specific teachers, schools, or programs to student test performance. In recent years, these methods have attracted considerable attention because of their potential applicability for educational accountability, teacher pay-for-performance systems, school and teacher improvement, program evaluation, and research. Value-added methods involve complex statistical models applied to test data of varying quality. Accordingly, there are many technical challenges to ascertaining the degree to which the output of these models provides the desired estimates. Despite a substantial amount of research over the last decade and a half, overcoming these challenges has proven to be very difficult, and many questions remain unanswered—at a time when there is strong interest in implementing value-added models in a variety of settings.
In 2005 the National Research Council (NRC) and the National Academy of Education decided to jointly plan a workshop to help identify areas of emerging consensus and areas of disagreement regarding appropriate uses of value-added methods, in an effort to provide research-based guidance to policy makers who are facing decisions about whether to proceed in this direction. The project was funded by the Carnegie Corporation. A steering committee was formed to plan the event, facilitate the workshop discussions, and oversee the writing of the report. The committee members were chosen for their expertise in educational testing and
accountability, valued-added methodology from both the economics and statistical traditions, and state and local data systems.
The Workshop on Valued-Added Methodology for Instructional Improvement, Program Evaluation, and Educational Accountability was held on November 13 and 14, 2008, in Washington, DC. The workshop agenda and a list of participants are in Appendix A. Biographical sketches of committee members and staff appear in Appendix B. The background papers and workshop transcript are posted on the NRC website at http://www7.nationalacademies.org/bota/VAM_Workshop_Agenda.html.
This report is a summary of discussions at the workshop. It should be noted that the report summarizes the views expressed by workshop participants. While the committee is responsible for the overall quality and accuracy of the report as a record of what transpired at the workshop, the views contained in the workshop report are not necessarily those of the committee.
Many people contributed to the success of this project. We would first like to thank the members of the National Academy of Education’s Research Advisory Committee, who helped to formulate the project. They include Alan Schoenfeld, University of California, who chairs the group; Richard Atkinson, University of California; James Banks, University of Washington; Margaret Eisenhart, University of Colorado at Boulder; Michael Feuer, National Research Council; Robert Hauser, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Ellen Lagemann, Bard College; Michael McPherson, Spencer Foundation; Lauren Resnick, University of Pittsburgh; Lorrie Shepard, University of Colorado at Boulder; and Marshall Smith, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. We would also like to thank Laura Desimone, University of Pennsylvania, who assisted in development of a concept proposal on value-added methods. The committee is also indebted to Gregory White, executive director, and Andrea Solarz, director of research initiatives, at the National Academy of Education, for their helpful suggestions throughout the course of this project.
We are also grateful to senior staff members of the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education who helped to move this project forward. Michael Feuer, executive director, and Patricia Morison, associate executive director and acting director of the Center for Education, provided support and guidance at key stages in this project. Eugenia Grohman, associate executive director, and Kirsten Sampson Snyder, senior report review officer, offered their knowledge and experience with NRC procedures to guide the report
through the NRC review process. Christine McShane, senior editor, provided expert editing assistance.
The committee also recognizes the scholars who wrote papers for the workshop. These individuals provided the intellectual foundations for the report: Dale Ballou, Vanderbilt University; Derek Briggs, University of Colorado at Boulder; John Easton, University of Chicago; Adam Gamoran, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Robert Gordon, Center for American Progress; Ben Jensen, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; Ashish Jha, Harvard School of Public Health; Michael Kane, National Conference of Bar Examiners; Michael Kolen, University of Iowa; Helen Ladd, Duke University; Robert Linn, University of Colorado at Boulder; J.R. Lockwood and Dan McCaffrey, RAND Corporation; Sean Reardon, Stanford University; and Mark Reckase, Michigan State University.
The committee also thanks the NRC staff who worked directly on this project. We are grateful to Stuart Elliott, director, and Judith Koenig, senior program officer, of the Board on Testing and Assessment for their contributions in formulating the workshop design and making it a reality. We particularly wish to recognize Naomi Chudowsky, costudy director of the project. Naomi took the lead in translating workshop discussions into a draft report. She then helped to prepare successive versions of the report for committee review, deftly and diplomatically handling numerous and diverse committee comments.
Finally, as chair of the committee, I wish to thank the committee members for their dedication and outstanding contributions to this project. They actively assisted in all stages of this project, from planning the workshop and identifying presenters, to reviewing multiple versions of this report. They gave generously of their time to ensure that the final product accurately represents the workshop discussions, is understandable to a variety of audiences, and fully portrays the complex issues associated with value-added methods.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We wish to thank the following people for their review of this report: Duncan Chaplin, Human Services Research Division, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.; Mark Dynarski, Center for Improving Research Evidence,
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.; Drew H. Gitomer, Policy Evaluation and Research Center, Educational Testing Service; Maciej Jakubowski, Directorate for Education, Indicators and Analysis Division, Programme for International Student Assessment, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; Sean F. Reardon, School of Education, Stanford University; and Paul R. Sackett, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Paul Sackett, University of Minnesota. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Henry Braun, Chair
Committee on Value-Added Methodology for Instructional Improvement, Program Evaluation, and Educational Accountability