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Feb. 8: New research questions LA Times value-added approach

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  • 02-08-2011
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The analysis the Los Angeles Times relied on to publish a series of stories and database of teacher effectiveness was inadequate, according to a report released today by the National Education Policy Center.

"Due Dilligence and the Evaluation of Teachers" published the findings of University of Colorado, Boulder researchers Derek Briggs and Ben Domingue, who used the same Los Angeles Unified School District data of elementary school teachers and students. In attempting to recreate the analysis that was conducted for the Times, the researchers found much variability.

The original analysis looked at student test scores in English Language Arts and mathematics. How much they improved from the previous year--"value added"--was attributed to the teacher. Positive growth and the teacher was considered "effective"; negative, not so. The Times ranked teachers on a five-point scale from "least effective" to "most effective."

Among NEPC new findings for reading scores:

  • More than half of the teachers had a different effectiveness rating.
  • 8.1 percent of teachers considered ineffective in the Times' model jumped to effective.
  • 12.6 percent originally listed as effective were deemed ineffective in new model.


For the full report from IDEA's sister organization, visit

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