1st Edition

Rethinking Value-Added Models in Education Critical Perspectives on Tests and Assessment-Based Accountability

By Audrey Amrein-Beardsley Copyright 2014
    272 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    274 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Since passage of the of No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, academic researchers, econometricians, and statisticians have been exploring various analytical methods of documenting students‘ academic progress over time. Known as value-added models (VAMs), these methods are meant to measure the value a teacher or school adds to student learning from one year to the next. To date, however, there is very little evidence to support the trustworthiness of these models. What is becoming increasingly evident, yet often ignored mainly by policymakers, is that VAMs are 1) unreliable, 2) invalid, 3) nontransparent, 4) unfair, 5) fraught with measurement errors and 6) being inappropriately used to make consequential decisions regarding such things as teacher pay, retention, and termination. Unfortunately, their unintended consequences are not fully recognized at this point either. Given such, the timeliness of this well-researched and thoughtful book cannot be overstated. This book sheds important light on the debate surrounding VAMs and thereby offers states and practitioners a highly important resource from which they can move forward in more research-based ways.  

    Section I: Introduction

    Chapter 1: Socially Engineering the Road to Utopia

    Chapter 2: Value-Added Models (VAMs) and the Human Factor

    Chapter 3: A VAMoramic View of the Nation

    Section II: Highly Questionable Yet Often Unquestioned Assumptions

    Chapter 4: Assumptions Used as Rationales and Justifications

    Chapter 5: Test-Based, Statistical, and Methodological Assumptions

    Section III: Nontraditional Concerns about Traditional Methodological Notions

    Chapter 6: Reliability and Validity

    Chapter 7: Bias and the Random Assignment of Students into Classrooms

    Section IV: Alternatives, Solutions, and Conclusions

    Chapter 8: Alternatives, Solutions, and Conclusions


    Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Professor in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. She is one of the top Edu-Scholars in the nation, honored for being an academic who is contributing substantially to public debates about the nation's educational system. She is also creator and host of the blog: VAMboozled! (vamboozled.com). 

    "Amrein-Beardsley (Arizona State Univ.) gives readers a thorough critique of the various analytical measures used to document students’ academic progress over time as such measures are used to assess the value of a teacher and/or school...Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections."- A. L. Hsu, State University of New York College at Old Westbury, in CHOICE, January 2015

    "Rethinking Value-Added Models in Education is the single most comprehensive resource on the uses and abuses of Value-added Measurement (VAM) in U.S. education policy. There is something for everyone in this text: from definitions for those with no background in statistics to thorough discussions of the reining positions and debates between researchers. It therefore serves as a primer on education policy as well as a deep dive into the specifics of VAM." —Education Review