I wrote recently about the limited value of value-added data when it comes to predicting teacher effectiveness.
Now, more information has come out regarding the impact of value-added data on education policy. Specifically, the impact the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) has had on Tennessee education outcomes.
TVAAS was included among a set of reforms adopted as part of the Education Improvement Act in Tennessee in 1992. The EIA was passed in a response to a lawsuit regarding inequity in school funding. A similar situation precipitated Kentucky’s Education Reform Act (KERA) in 1990. Over the last 20 years, however, the two states have taken different approaches and have different results to show for their efforts.
Here’s the big takeaway from this piece on the utility of TVAAS data in terms of its impact on student achievement:
Tennessee received a D on K-12 achievement when compared to other states based on NAEP achievement levels and gains, poverty gaps, graduation rates, and Advanced Placement test scores (Quality Counts 2011, p. 46). Educational progress made in other states on NAEP [from 1992 to 2011] lowered Tennessee’s rankings:
• from 36th/42 to 46th/52 in the nation in fourth-grade math
• from 29th/42 to 42nd/52 in fourth-grade reading
• from 35th/42 to 46th/52 in eighth-grade math
• from 25th/38 (1998) to 42nd/52 in eighth-grade reading.
That’s right. Tennessee has lost ground relative to other states since the implementation of its TVAAS system as well as its other education reforms adopted in 1992. Funding inequity persists, and while the overall numbers in terms of student achievement have gone slightly up, other states have moved forward faster. That means Tennessee is essentially worse off relative to the country than it was when it started.
One key difference in Tennessee is persistently low investment in schools. Which highlights the need for Kentucky to continue its focus on investing in schools and doing what works to achieve proficiency.
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