Another Review of My Book “Rethinking Value-Added Models”

For those of you who might recall, just over two years ago my book titled “Rethinking Value-Added Models in Education: Critical Perspectives on Tests and Assessment-Based Accountability,” was officially released by my publisher – Routledge, New York. The book has since been reviewed twice – once by Rachael Gabriel, an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut, in Education Review: A Multilingual Journal of Book Reviews (click here for the full review), and another time by Lauren Bryant, Research Scholar at North Carolina State University, in Teachers College Record (although the full review is no longer available for free).

It was just reviewed again, this time by Natalia Guzman, a doctoral student at the University of Maryland. This review was published, as well, in Education Review: A Multilingual Journal of Book Reviews (click here for the full review). Here are some of the highlights and key sections, especially important for those of you who might have not yet read the book, or know others who should.

  • “Throughout the book, author Audrey Amrein-Beardsley synthesizes and critiques
    numerous studies and cases from both academic and popular outlets. The main
    themes that organize the content of book involve the development, implementation,
    consequences, and future of valued-added methods for teacher accountability: 1) the use of social engineering in American educational policy; 2) the negative impact on the human factor in schools; 3) the acceptance of unquestioned theoretical and methodological assumptions in VAMs; and 4) the availability of conventional alternatives and solutions to a newly created problem.”
  • “The book’s most prominent theme, the use of social engineering in American educational policy, emerges in the introductory chapters of the book. The author argues that U.S. educational policy is predicated on the concept of social engineering—a powerful instrument that influences attitudes and social behaviors to promote the achievement of idealized political ends. In the case of American educational policy, the origins and development of VAMs is connected to the
    goal of improving student achievement and solving the problem of America’s failing public school system.”
  • “The human factor involved in the implementation of VAMs emerges as a
    prominent theme…Amrein-Beardsley uses powerful examples of research-
    based accounts of how VAMs affected teachers and school districts, important
    aspects of the human factor involved in the implementation of these models.”
  • “This reader appreciated the opportunity to learn about research that directly questions similar statistical and methodological assumptions in a way that was
    highly accessible, surprisingly, since discussions about VAM methodology tends to
    be highly technical.”
  • “The book closes with an exploration of some traditional and conventional alternatives to VAMs…The virtue of [these] proposal[s] is that it contextualizes teacher evaluation, offering multiple perspectives of the complexity of teaching, and it engages different members of the school community, bringing in the voices of teacher colleagues, parents and/or students.”
  • “Overall, this book offers one of the most comprehensive critiques of what we
    know about VAMs in the American public education system. The author contextualizes her critique to added-value methods in education within a larger socio-political discussion that revisits the history and evolution of teacher accountability in the US. The book incorporates studies from academic sources as well as summarizes cases from popular outlets such as newspapers and blogs.
    This author presents all this information using nontechnical language, which makes it suitable for the general public as well as academic readers. Another major contribution of this book is that it gives voice to the teachers and school administrators that were affected by VAMs, an aspect that has not yet been
    thoroughly researched.”

Thanks go out to Natalia for such a great review, and also effectively summarizing what she sees (and others have also seen) as the “value-added” in this book.

One thought on “Another Review of My Book “Rethinking Value-Added Models”

  1. Congratulations on getting another round of research into circulation. As you know, VAM is still being used and praised as if objective, reliable and the rest. Last week’s EdWeek commentary from a retired superintendent implied that student test scores and “growth” in these scores somehow revealed whether a teacher’s content knowledge is up-to-date.
    All of the die-hards who defend these estimates have a severe memory gap: about 69% of teachers have job assignments for which there are not statewide test scores, hence no VAM.
    Although USDE is still marketing SLOs as an “alternative” to VAM, the computer industry is moving in with systems that will produce ratings for these teachers, no SLOs required just a predetermined scale from one to five for rating student performance on grade-specific assignments.

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