Value-Added Measures in Education: What Every Educator Needs to Know
“Hold people accountable for what they can control”—a simple, yet foundational premise in Douglas N. Harris’s comprehensive new book on value-added measurement (VAM). With the AFT’s Randi Weingarten authoring the foreword, Harris remains impressively neutral in explaining the benefits and drawbacks of this controversial new teacher evaluation tool. The book attempts to “clear away the fog” surrounding VAM, which is no simple task. In three sections, it offers a detailed explanation and contextualization of VAM (including an overview of its potential value when done right), a description of the challenges that arise in applying VAM in the real world, and potential solutions to these problems. Empirical analyses that support Harris’s points are intertwined throughout; the book’s stated goal—to translate this multi-faceted and contentious system into comprehensible language—is handled admirably. Harris concludes with recommendations for using VAM appropriately and effectively, as well as ways to create and report these evaluation metrics. This book serves as a worthy users’ manual for value-added and is a welcome addition to the teacher-measurement debate.
Douglas N. Harris, Value-Added Measures in Education: What Every Educator Needs to Know, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2011).
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