I recently heard from Heidi Haggard, a former elementary school teacher, who shared the following insight about value-added teacher assessments:
“I appreciate the Deseret News articles you have written on value-added teacher assessments. As a former elementary school teacher (I’m home with small children for a while), I would have loved to see this kind of assessment of my teaching. It would have given me another way to think about and improve my teaching.
“When I was teaching, I taught in lower-income, transient schools. One school was in Ogden and had a 100% transiency and 100% free breakfast and lunch rate. The other school was in Kearns and had a much lower transiency rate and about a 65% free lunch rate. I felt like at both of these schools that as a lower grade teacher, I could help students learn. A lot. Even so, it was stressful to me to know that a student who moved into my second grade classroom in March of a certain year – completely unable to read – would have his yearly test scores included in the class average. Would value-added assessments factor in the number of days a student attended class? It would just make sense.
“Also, I wonder if upper grade teachers would have the same experience I did as a first and second grade teacher. I felt like it was realistic to teach the students so they could reach the end-of-level goals (as long as they were in my class long enough). Reading is such a focus in the early grades, but if you had non-readers in your class as a teacher in upper grades, I can imagine it would present a big barrier to reaching grade-level goals.
“Thanks again for the thought-provoking articles.”