Friday, November 19, 2010

Academic Advocates and Critics of Value-Added Aren't That Far Apart (Compared to Politicians)

Bruce Baker:

Many pundits out there tweeting and blogging about this new Brookings report are the same pundits who continue to argue that value-added ratings should constitute as much as 50% of teacher evaluation – and that somehow this new Brookings report validates their claim. I don’t see where the Brookings report goes anywhere near that far.

To those viewing the Brookings report in that light, implicit in the “other sectors do it” argument is that the SAT and mortality rates are considered major factors for evaluating students for admission or for evaluating hospital quality. Are they really? In an era where more and more colleges are making the SAT optional, how many are using it as 50% of admissions criteria? Yes, most highly selective colleges do still require the SAT, and it no doubt serves as a tipping factor on admissions decisions (largely out of convenience when taking the first cut at a large applicant pool). But, several have abandoned use of SAT altogether (, perhaps because it is perceived to be such a weak signal – or because of all of the perverse incentives and inequities associated with the SAT. Would anyone seriously consider using patient mortality rates alone as 50% of the value for rating hospital quality – determining hospital closures?

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