This blog has highlighted SAS and its use of the EVAAS system to measure teacher effectiveness. And every time this teacher thinks of EVAAS, he thinks of a presentation by James Ford in October of 2017.
Ford delivered the keynote address at that time to the North Carolina English Teacher’s Association. It was more than exceptional as he highlighted that what hurts our schools most are external factors that are not being dealt with such as systemic poverty.
Part of his presentation included a version of what is called the “Iceberg Effect” for education. It looks like this:
Ford talked about (and he is not alone in this belief) how what is above the water, namely student outcomes, is what drives educational policies in our state.
Notice that he means what is visible above the water line is what drives policy. That is what the public sees in the press. That is what lawmakers and leaders hark on when discussing what to do about public education. That is what is being used to measure the effectiveness of teachers and schools.
EVAAS stands for “Education Value-Added Assessment System.” For teachers, it is supposed to give an indication of how well students are supposed to do in a given year on the tests that are used on evaluations. (Do not let it be lost on anyone that “EVAAS” scores were just released at the end of most schools’ first quarter after half of the block classes have already completed more than half of the curriculum’s work).
EVAAS has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny. It deserves every bit of that scrutiny. Why? Because the algorithms that it uses to come up with its calculations and reports are like a tightly held secret.
So, I have to ask, “How will SAS account for this epidemic in their EVAAS scores?”
If we do have scores associated with teachers next year, SAS better show how they account for those scores because of the elimination of standardized tests for this year.
And if standardized tests are not given this year to measure students, then does it not say that what happens outside of the classroom that affects students’ lives has a greater influence on how students do in school?
Like what is below the surface of the water?
That EVAAS never measured in the first place?