Gary Rubenstein Demonstrates That the NYC ‘Value Added’ Measurements are Insane

Gary Rubenstein has two excellent posts where he analyzes what happened with the New York Public School System’s value-added measurements for teachers, which were just released.

He discovered several very important things:

(1) There is almost no correlation between a teacher’s score in 2009 to that for the following year.

(2) There is almost no correlation between a teacher’s score when teaching math and when teaching reading – to the same kids, the same year, and in the same elementary class.

(3) There is almost no correlation between a teacher’s score when teaching different grade levels of the same subject (i.e., Math 6 versus Math 7, and so on).

In other words, the Value Added Methodology is very close to being a true random number generator — which would be great if we were playing some sort of fantasy role-playing game or a board game like Monopoly or Yahtzee. But it’s an utterly ridiculous way to run a school system and to evaluate teachers.

I highly recommend reading his two blogs on this topic, which are here (for the first part) and here (for the second part).

After you read them, you need to pass the word (email, word of mouth, twitter, Like, facebook, whatever).

We need to kill this value-added mysticism and drive a special wooden stake through its evil, twisted heart.


Published in: on February 28, 2012 at 11:49 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Right on, retired math teacher guy. I am soon-to-be-retired 3rd grade teacher gal who just can’t drink the koolaid any longer. Parents, don’t let your children grow up to be teachers! It’s becoming something I don’t even recognize any longer as a profession. It feels like a war zone…and those on the front lines are being humiliated and left dying in the trenches. No life support. Just bullied to try harder, you know, give it some more rigor. Hey, maybe I should tell that to my developmentally latent student who is an emerging reader at 8 1/2 years old who, in 2015, will be retained! Here’s the real truth…it takes a lot of slow to grow and know and show your learning. Corporate whacks do not control the development of a human child. Last I checked, that job is a much Higher Being. Take your VAM and give it to another profession…say, physicians whose patients die, despite all the meds and surgeries performed. Or, what about the dentists? Too many cavities and you are so busted, fella. I know…meteorologists…predict it wrong, and you are out in that rain you said wasn’t gonna happen! Wish I had the energy to stick around for the fun that is coming down the proverbial DOE pike…it’s going to be a bumpy ride! There was a time when it was pure joy. I miss those days.


  2. […] You should also see his earlier posts, “Gary Rubenstein is right, no correlation on value-added scores in New York city,” and “Gary Rubenstein demonstrates that the NYC ‘value-added’ measurements are insane.” […]


  3. […] A consultant for DCPS found a similar result, but I suspect she gave the value of R (about 0.33) rather than R-squared, which I have above. (link here). See this as well. I’ve also taken the data from New York City teachers that was released by various newspapers there; I found that Value-Added scores for any given teacher jumped around like crazy from year to year. For all practical purposes, there is no reliability or consistency to VAM whatsoever. Not even for elementary teachers who teaches both English and math to the same group of children and is ‘awarded’ a VAM score in both subjects. Nor for teachers who taught, say, both 7th and 8th grade students in, say, math, and was ‘awarded’ VAM scores for both grade levels: it’s as if someone was to throw darts at a large chart, blindfolded, and wherever the dart lands, that’s the teacher’s score. Don’t believe me? See here and here. And here. […]


  4. […] 8th grade math) had no consistency from one subject to the next. See my blog  (not all on NY City) here, here, here,  here, here, here, here, here,  here, here, and here. See Gary R’s six part […]


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