Did You See The L.A. Times Article (Value-Added Analysis) on Teacher Effectiveness? (Yes, That L.A. Times Article!)


I recently came across the L.A. Times article that’s been causing quite a stir. It’s a collaboration (of sorts) with The L.A. Times & L.A.U.S.D. I’m trying to be objective, but it’s really hard when I see teachers on there, that I know are good teachers, being maligned & publicly embarrassed.

This “system” is very, very, very flawed. The scores, which range from Least Effective (the worst) to Most Effective, are wholly based on the CSTs.

What job do you know that is based on ONE test. I understand the CSTs are important, but not important enough to publicly embarrass good teachers the way L.A.US.D. & The L.A. Times are doing.

*** Let me start from the CST categories from the beginning. Firstly, there are 600 points possible. There’s the Far Below Basic (FBB) category (150-258 points), Below Basic (BB) category (259-299), Basic (B) category (300-349), Proficient (P) category (350-401), Advance (A) category (402-600).

*** The numbers above are from a 3rd grade STAR Student Report. The numbers differ from grade to grade.***

Most, if not all Special Education students, fall into the FBB & BB category. So, the Special Education teachers will always score in the Least Effective-Less Effective category. This is unfair since there are many factors that are not taken into consideration. What about students who have made significant progress? One of my students had a major, major leap of +96 points and went from FBB to B in Math. In English/Language Arts, he had a gain of +61 points. That is unheard of. One of my other students had a +41 point gain (Which is also incredible), but he stayed in the same category of FBB. If I were “graded” according to the article, I would rank in the Least Effective Category even though my student made substantial gains. Not everyone has such phenomenal success like that, but that is not the point that I’m trying to make. The point I’m trying to make is that none of my student’s successes would be taken into account if they stayed in the same category. Great strides like those my students made should be taken into account, as well as many other factors.

There were so many teachers in the Least Effective Category who should not have been. My husband & I were talking about “bad” teachers & “good” teachers & how to tell the difference! That, however, is a post for tomorrow. See you then!

If you would like to know more, here are some links here, here, here, here, and here.

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3 thoughts on “Did You See The L.A. Times Article (Value-Added Analysis) on Teacher Effectiveness? (Yes, That L.A. Times Article!)

  1. Hi, there! I was trying to reconcile the situation you recounted with the way the Times’s stats folks did their analysis, and I was struggling. As I read it, if a teacher had students who, over the years had been doing FBB- and BB-level work and then got a teacher who helped them make those major leaps and they went from from FBB to B, that teacher would have added value to their outcomes and would have received quite high scores in the Times system.

    Now, I’m not saying that the system that the Times used is 100% correct and proper, ’cause I don’t think it is. Neither do I consider it 100% improper. It just is what it is: A means of reporting how much given teachers consistently affect the achievement of students on one test, given how well those students have done on that test in the past. Sort of like this: Here’s these kids’ baselines; how’d they do with this teacher?

    What do you think? Am I missing this?

  2. @ John L, I don’t think you’re missing anything. You are right. It’s not 100% improper. The Times article had some validity. There are some very lazy teachers out there. The problem I had with it was how Special Education teachers will almost always be in the Least Effective category. There are some very good teachers out there who were in the Least Effective Category.

  3. ELIZ. SCHER says:

    In response to recent L.A. TIMES articles…
    August 2010 — from a retired teacher

    I see the future — it’s incredible – perfect! Since most teachers will be dismissed due to low standardized test scores, androids (robots) will take their place. They will be programmed to teach exactly alike in every subject area so that responsibility falls on the student; nevertheless, differentiated instruction will be offered by specialized androids.

    Interactive computers, smart boards, overhead projectors, I pads/pods & e-books will be utilized for education with instant grading, hypnosis, & frequent repetition calculated to relentlessly focus on the ultimate goal — high standardized test scores.

    No worries – or L.A. TIMES articles.

    Better yet – thought has been given to installing an informed (at various levels) computer chip in student brains so school becomes unnecessary.

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