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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Value-Added Modeling: Challenges for Measuring Special Education Teacher Quality

  • Author(s): Lawson, Janelle
  • et al.

Teacher evaluation systems that rely upon subjective observations and are limited to binary rating scales have been criticized for their inability to distinguish highly effective from ineffective teachers.  Largely in response to the Obama administration’s Race to the Top competition for federal funding, school districts are looking to value-added models as a means by which to improve their teacher evaluation systems and promote highly qualified and effective teachers.  Value-added models purport to measure teacher quality by collecting longitudinal student achievement data in the form of standardized test scores.  While value-added models could potentially improve teacher assessment, there are limitations to including students with disabilities in the models.  This literature review examines the promises and criticisms of value-added models, and continues the discussion of measuring special education teacher equality using the standardized test scores of students with disabilities.

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