Education ForumEducation

Value-Added Measures and the Future of Educational Accountability

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Science  12 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6044, pp. 826-827
DOI: 10.1126/science.1193793

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Quantitative social scientists seek to develop ever-better tools for measuring and improving school teacher performance. One approach uses data on individual students' past test scores to predict subsequent scores and then subtracts the (counterfactual) prediction from the actual scores to estimate teachers' “value added.” But there is considerable debate about what educational benefits these measures might yield. I discuss scholarly agreements and disagreements about statistical properties of teacher value-added measures and argue that most key research questions cannot be answered by the types of studies that now dominate the literature (1).