Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

School board approves value-added contract

The Los Angeles Board of Education unanimously approved a contract Tuesday with a company that will analyze teachers' effectiveness in raising students' standardized test scores.

The agreement with the University of Wisconsin Value Added Research Center, which does similar work for New York City public schools, could cost about $1.5 million. The first phase of the three-year project should be about $125,000, and school district officials have discussed finding outside funding sources to pay for most of the costs.

Value-added analysis estimates a teacher's effectiveness by measuring a student's year-to-year progress on standardized tests. It has increasingly been adopted by school districts throughout the country and championed by policy makers who say it brings a measure of objectivity to largely subjective teacher evaluations.

Critics say it is an unfair and inaccurate way to evaluate teachers on its own and insist it should be used as only one measure on a performance review.

Los Angeles school board members voted in September to encourage the teachers and administrators unions to accept value-added analysis in evaluations. But the board stressed that it should only be part of an overall evaluation.

The district is currently negotiating with teachers union officials to include value-added scores in formal evaluations, a move the union has strongly resisted.

The University of Wisconsin group would calculate value-added scores for individual teachers. School district officials have said they plan to issue confidential scores to teachers this year.

Another group is calculating schools' value-added marks, which should be released shortly.

The Times published a series of stories earlier this year based on the paper's own value-added analysis, which was based on seven years' worth of student test scores obtained from the school district under the California Public Records Act.

-- Jason Song

Comments () | Archives (15)

So what kind of a score will we receive if we don't teach core content area that is tested? Will we receive a blank document or will they use some conglomeration of who knows just to make sure we, too, are a statistic.

Such a joke all this is!!!!

Regardless of who pays the $1.5M, that same money could be so better spent on people or materials with a direct, day to day impact on children.

1.5 million dollars? While essential personnel are laid off? Don't we get to vote on this??

"Only part of an overall evaluation." It will be used to terrorize teachers into submitting to scripted curriculum and doing away with novels and projects.

Teachers will never accept value -added voodo analysis

When students are held accountable for the scores like teachers are trying to be, then there will be no argument from the teachers. But until then, the scoring is one sided with no hope of improvement. Teachers will run from low score schools and no one will want to teach there no matter the pay when you can be fired for just doing your job.

are they gonna fire the losers? no? waste of MONEY!

This article proves how money is being wasted in "Experts" millions of dollars. Unless, we all unite and hold The Los Angeles Board of Education accountable for wasting money nothing will ever change.

The money never gets to the classroom because the board members and the superintendent waste millions of dollars in services that we do not need.

Unless, we have parent involment, the students would not arrive in the classrooms ready to listen, learn and retain.

Board members and superintendent visit a classroom in the inercity schools; sit for one hour to observe the many different problems that some children have in their hearts, and with these kind of troubles no matter who is the classroom, the students can not learn.

Time for mass boycotting of tests and parent education. Parents: keep your kids at home on CST testing days. Teachers: administer alternative tests such as writing that cannot be reduced to a scarlett letter number. It's the only way to fight this witch hunt.

What a waste of money, More consultants. $1.5 million, Total LAUSD consultants 5000. Teachers left and right are requesting transfer out of low income area schools.

When one studies the characteristics that make successful schools and successful students, certain characteristics emerge repeatedly in successful models, and it begins to become clear what works and what should be avoided on campus, and with the plethora of research literature examining this topic, there should be little confusion about what characteristics determine success. Oddly, merit pay and teacher evaluations based on arbitrary test scores are almost never practiced in these model schools, and are never cited as keys to student learning. Not surprisingly, the practice of pitting teachers against one another at school sites in savage battles for the hearts and minds of groups of students in quests to be awarded the lion’s share of a school’s limited financial resources also goes undocumented in the research profiling model schools. Hmmm. Equally unsurprising is that there remains not a stitch of research-based evidence demonstrating student test score evaluations of teachers – tests that have actually “no value” for students – improve student learning. With data all the rage, and with plenty of data available to the LA Times, the LAUSD school board, and the US Department of Education regarding how to build successful K-12 public schools, what is surprising (perhaps even shocking) is their collective refusal to use research that doesn’t support their criminal power grab of schools and witch hunt of teachers. Instead, they are making slanderous attempts to ramrod a manufactured and transparent, corporate-driven education agenda down the throats of professional educators who, because of their skill and knowhow as teachers, can punch bus-size holes in the argument being trotted out to justify these damaging practices. I don’t know what is more heartbreaking, the concerted and media-driven nationwide attack on schools and teachers, or the ignorance of an unwitting public that buys this junk hook, line, and sinker. Do cops get paid on their ability to prevent the creation of criminals, and if so, what would that look like on differentiated pay scale? Instead of far below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced for teachers, would it be infraction, misdemeanor, felony, or felony with special circumstances for police? Oh, right, “that’s different,” they would say. Uh huh. I smell BS.

I never cease to be amazed at the intellectually weak justification for VA: well, it's flawed, but after all it won't make up 100% of a teacher evaluation. That is analogous to saying: well, yes, astrology has not been proven to be a good predictor of teacher performance, but don't worry, we'll only use it for 30%. (The rest will be arbitrary administrator likes & dislikes; but, at least we're adding some more objective measure.)

This just another waste of the tax payers' money, and Nothing will change until the students, and the parents are held accountable. The students, and parents who are doing their job are very small because the test scores prove the point. The money should be spent on books, and materials for the classrooms. Furthermore, to keep the restrooms cleans, and the campuses. No wonder Cortines, did not want to bring back the plant managers. Cortines, had already decided to spend the money on the items he wants, and gets a kick back at the tax payers expense.

In a time of financial crunch, LAUSD to spend $4.5 million for consultant--I WANT TO SCREAM OUT AND TELL THE WORLD "DON'T WASTE THIS MONEY!"

Tell everyone that you know. This gross misuse of public funds cannot be permitted! The use of taxpayer dollars designated for the students of LAUSD has for too long been sidetracked through the bureaucracies of LAUSD. This must stop now!

LAUSD never fails to amaze me. I am certain the LAUSD School Board will not be happy until all the schools are charter and the entire curriculum is teaching to the test. Then all of their schools will have a high API, and graduate students who can pass the test with flying colors but can't think their way out of a paper bag and can only perform well when they are spoon fed the answers over a long period of time.

What ARE the other measures of assessing teachers?

Will school administrators (that are supposed to be INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERS) be held accountable to really observe teaching instead of popping in for 10 minutes and checking off a list and copying and pasting last year's comments on this year's evaluation form?

Will they be held accountable for giving meaningful and thoughtful feedback to teachers that helps us improve?

Will they design appropriate professional development with teacher input that allows teachers to collaborate with one another to improve their teaching?

Will they allocate the necessary resources and ensure that conditions exist for teachers to be effective?

THIS IS ALL HARD TO DO and only people that work in schools know that very few principals know how to do it. When you say value added scores will only be one measure, teachers KNOW that their schools are not capable of using other measures.

How will teachers in grades K-1 be evaluated using the value-added method since they don't give a standardized state test? What about teachers of art, music, etc. who don't teach the core math and language arts?

I teach high school in Los Angeles. I love my students. I love how hard they try, I love the work we do... and I can't blame those of my students who say they just don't care what they get on the CST. It's kind of a shell game I'm playing. I can't lie to them and say the tests have an impact on their academic standing but I know how crucial they are to the school as a whole.

Put it this way--let's say you were taking a very demanding test at the end of the school year and this test was one that you knew wasn't going to affect your grade one way or the other. How hard would you try? Most people would do their best out of principle but do you blame the students who give less than their best? I know for a fact that three of my students, in their own words, did not do their best on last years CST. To a person, they said it was because they were exhausted from a long year and just didn't feel like doing it.

If my job is to be based in part on how well my students do on these tests, shouldn't they be held accountable as well?


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: