Following up on my most recent post regarding the first external review of my recently released book here, I just got word that my book was listed as one of three books to read this summer on Russ Walsh’s “An Educator’s Summer Reading List.”
Here is what Russ wrote, specifically:
Rethinking Value-Added Models in Education: Critical Perspectives on Tests and Assessment-Based Accountability by Audrey Amrein-Beardsley.
Here is a book that every teacher must read in the era of standardized test-based accountability. In school after school, in state after state, teachers are being judged (in small or large part) on value-added models (VAMs) based on student performance on standardized tests. Amrein-Beardsley is the foremost authority on VAMs in the country. She created the blog Vamboozled! as a forum for information and criticism of VAM based accountability measures. In this book, Amrein-Beardsley takes a scholarly approach to the dismantling of the research and rhetoric behind VAMs.
Her conclusions: VAMs are unreliable, invalid, nontransparent, unfair, full of measurement errors, and being used inappropriately to make key decisions about teacher retention, termination and pay. Other than that they are just peachy.
Beardsley’s book is not just a critique of a failed accountability measure, however. In the final chapter she offers alternatives, solutions and conclusions. Her key recommendations are listed here.
- Credibility and trust are key to any evaluation scheme. VAMs lack this basic requirement.
- Educators’ professional judgment should not be removed from any evaluation system.
- Any evaluation system should rely on multiple measures that are aligned with locally defined criteria for demonstrating effectiveness.
- Any evaluation system must include a plan to evaluate and refine the system.