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Examining teacher effectiveness through value-added scores and observed teaching practices

Castro Braun, Amy
Value-added assessment is designed to measure teacher contributions to student achievement in order to promote effective teaching (Battelle for Kids, 2011b; Darling-Hammond et al., 2012; Lee, 2011). When value-added assessment is used, research indicates that in some cases effective teaching is promoted, but in other cases it is not (Amrein-Beardsley & Collins, 2012; Darling-Hammond et al., 2012; Betebenner et al., 2012; McCaffrey & Hamilton, 2007; Quattrochi & Chapman, 2010). One reason that effective teaching may not be promoted is value-added models are not specifically designed to be diagnostic tools of effective teaching (Betebenner et al., 2012; Darling-Hammond, et al., 2012; Goe, 2008; RAND Corporation, 2004). Empirical evidence about which specific teaching practices improve student learning is lacking and additional research is needed (Goe, 2008; RAND Corporation, 2004; Stronge, Ward, & Grant, 2011).
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between value-added scores for elementary, junior high, and high school teachers of English/language arts, reading, and/or math in a large suburban Oklahoma public school district and administrators’ ratings of their specific teaching practices as measured by the Tulsa Model for Observation and Evaluation. There were small, positive correlations that were statistically significant for all teachers between overall value-added scores and overall evaluation scores on the Tulsa Model rubric for both school years. This result indicates that higher ratings of effective teaching were slightly associated with higher overall value-added scores and increased student achievement levels for this sample. Only two of the Tulsa Model rubric domains – classroom management and instructional effectiveness – had statistically significant relationships with value-added scores. This is attributed to the student-focused nature of these domains in contrast to the professional growth, interpersonal skills, and leadership domains. The specific teaching practices of effective teachers in the areas of Preparation, Discipline, Modeling, Monitoring, and Adjusts Based Upon Monitoring were linked to increased value-added scores.