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TVAAS inventor defends formula

The inventor of the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, William L. Sanders, said the formula is a “fair scoreboard” and he’s sad to see the current resurgence of political criticism of the formula, according to the Tennessean.

“I thought once we had fair scoreboards for parents and the public to see, the public demand for measurement would sustain itself,” said Sanders in an interview with The Tennessean. “Parents are only worried about right now for their kids. And when their kids are through, they’re through with it.”

In the article, Sanders said the formula received heavy criticism in the 1980s and it was dismissed by the Tennessee Department of Education for years before former Gov. Ned McWherter embraced it.

From the Tennessean:

At that time, Tennessee lagged in student achievement, but became a national model for student data collection. North Carolina-based analytics company, SAS, hired Sanders and established a section devoted to breaking down standardized test scores to evaluate teachers.

Sanders said in the article he hasn’t advised Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman or Gov. Bill Haslam on policy.

SAS’s director of Education Value-Added Assessment Section John White said the company works with Tennessee only on data and not on policy. Tennessee pays $1.7 million annually to SAS to calculate scores and put them online. It is designed to predict how much a student should learn versus how much he did learn, according to the article.

TVAAS is measured on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 representing the highest measurement of growth.

Tennessee teachers have grown more vocal in their opposition to TVAAS especially since more districts are planning state-mandated performance pay plans. In years past, the scores were kept between principals and teachers to help with professional coaching or individual students’ learning plans, the Tennessean reported.

The Tennessee Education Association has filed two lawsuits on behalf of two Knox County teachers alleging the usage of the valued-added scores are unreliable and unfair.

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