VAM Margin for Error Exceeds 50%; Meanwhile, Florida GOP Senate Wants to Give BOE More Control Over School Grades

The editors of the Bradenton Herald pointed out just how flawed that teacher Value Added Metrics (VAM)  based on test scores have proved to be:

Florida’s teacher evaluation system bears too many flaws to be worthy of setting standards for performance pay.

But the fact that the Florida Department of Education intended to seal those teacher rating scores away from the public only adds to the train wreck of a supposed accountability system.

The dubious and misnomered value-added model, known as VAM, assigns teacher scores based on a complicated formula alleged to be based on teacher effectiveness linked to student scores on standardized tests compared with statewide results.

But as the Florida Times-Union discovered in an investigative report, the margin of error on some of those teacher scores exceeded 50 percent. How could this possibly be used to help determine performance pay — half as the law subscribes?

Worse, some educators are judged for student performance with youngsters not even in their classes. How is that even remotely equitable

“Pay no attention to our botched accountability systems” say Florida senate republicans as they propose even more irrational crap to stuff into Florida’s education accountability systems. Yesterday, Sen. John Legg (R-Lutz) inserted language into SB 1642 that gives the state board of education even more power to change school grade rules when it suits them:

The state board shall periodically review the school grading scale to determine if the scale should be adjusted upward to meet raised expectations and encourage increased student performance. (Lines 226-228)

So if there as too many A’s and B’s, they can just change the rules and school administrators will have to spend countless days adjusting to the whims of political appointees who don’t have to answer voters. Florida republicans will make any rule to get a bell-curve to label some “failing schools” for charter school conversions.

In Diane Ravitch’s keynote address to the first annual Network for Public Education conference on March 2nd, she asserted that everything today’s current education reformers have done is “failing or has already failed.” Guys like Legg are part of the failing cabal that has unloaded this embarrassing school grade formula on Florida schools. Its subjected to constant rewrites to cover political backsides to the point that school grades are meaningless save for maintaining self-congratulatory chortling  in GOP caucus meetings.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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