The Malleable, Nebulous, and Secretive Algorithm of EVAAS

Recently this blog released a post concerning SAS and its value-added measurement software called EVAAS detailing its rather “undetailed” functionality at least as it deals with North Carolina (https://caffeinatedrage.com/2017/11/26/why-teachers-should-be-wary-of-evaas-and-sas/).

evaas header.PNG

Be reminded the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction describes EVAAS as:

EVAAS examines the impact of teachers, schools, and districts on the learning of their students in specific courses, grades, and subjects. Users can access colorful, easy-to-understand charts and graphs via the Web, as well as produce customized reports that predict student success, show the effects of schooling at particular schools, or reveal patterns in subgroup performance (http://www.ncpublicschools.org/effectiveness-model/evaas/).

It is rather mind-boggling to think that a measurement which comes from EVAAS is shrouded in so much opaqueness. With the power to sway school report cards and school performance grades, it would make sense that there be so much more transparency in how it calculates its data so that all parties involved would have the ability to act on whatever needs more attention.

But for right now, we are relegated to asking questions about how SAS uses EVAAS to come up with its measurements.

So when a teacher receives an EVAAS score can a person from DPI or even SAS answer the following questions when it comes to “measuring performance” that would truly allow that teacher to be convinced his / her effectiveness has been measured correctly?

  1. Do EVAAS scores consider the viewpoints of the parents whose students are being taught?
  2. Do EVAAS scores consider the viewpoints of the students and how they feel about the learning experience and their security in the school and the classroom?
  3. Do EVAAS scores consider the growth index of a school?
  4. Do EVAAS scores consider the attendance records of the students?
  5. Do EVAAS scores consider the graduation rate?
  6. Do EVAAS scores consider how many students are taking “rigorous” courses?
  7. Do EVAAS scores consider the amount of community service done by students in the school?
  8. Do EVAAS scores consider the strength of the drama department and the quality of the productions?
  9. Do EVAAS scores consider what is seen in the yearbook?
  10. Do EVAAS scores consider the strength of the student newspaper?
  11. Do EVAAS scores consider the strength of the JROTC program?
  12. Do EVAAS scores consider the number of viable clubs and organizations on campus?
  13. Do EVAAS scores consider the amount of scholarship money won by graduating students
  14. Do EVAAS scores consider the number of student participating in sports?
  15. Do EVAAS scores consider the number of teachers who have advanced degrees and advanced certification?
  16. Do EVAAS scores consider the number of foreign languages offered?
  17. Do EVAAS scores consider the number of students in the Student Section at a game?
  18. Do EVAAS scores consider the number of students who wear spirit wear?
  19. Do EVAAS scores consider the number of students involved in choral and musical endeavors?
  20. Do EVAAS scores consider the number of students who attend summer academic study opportunities?
  21. Do EVAAS scores consider the quality of the artistic endeavors of students through visual and performance arts programs?
  22. Do EVAAS scores consider the strength of programs that hope to help marginalized students?
  23. Do EVAAS scores consider the transient rate of the student body?
  24. Do EVAAS scores consider the turnover rate of the staff and faculty?
  25. Do EVAAS scores consider the poverty levels of the surrounding area that the school services?
  26. Do EVAAS scores consider the number of students who hold jobs?
  27. Do EVAAS scores consider the effect of natural disasters such as hurricanes?
  28. Do EVAAS scores consider the funding levels of the programs?
  29. Do EVAAS scores consider the number of students on 504 plans or IEP’s?
  30. Do EVAAS scores consider the rations of nurses and counselors to students?
  31. Do EVAAS scores consider the class sizes?

And that’s not even really directly touching on issues related to poverty.

If any or all of those are considered in calculating EVAAS scores then SAS should prove it.

If any or all of those are NOT considered, then maybe SAS should take a deeper look at whether or not they should be considered.

Because all of them has an effect on students and schools in varying ways.

Quantify that.

 

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