Regardless of what one might think of the Obama administration’s view of education policy, few CDT readers are likely to disagree that there needs to be accountability in the educational process, including teacher training.
That is the primary goal of the Federal Register, the document to which Anne Elrod Whitney refers in her Dec. 10 column (“Report card plan deserves failing grade”).
Whitney claims, “The thrust of the proposed regulations is to subject … teacher education programs … to ‘value-added assessment,’ ” which she obviously dislikes.
In fact, the proposal makes no such requirement. On Page 71,833, VAM is noted as one possible way by which accountability can be achieved. The proposal fairly acknowledges controversy about the use of VAM. Whitney also claims VAM ``has been discredited’’ by the American Statistical Association. It has done nothing of the sort.
In its April statement, ASA proposed some guidelines for VAM use in ASA’s ongoing efforts to improve statistical practice. ASA explicitly states it neither wishes to “promote or condemn specific uses of VAM.’’
While deprecating VAM, which attempts to add accountability to teacher education policy, Whitney offers no alternative.
One positive contribution of the proposed rule is requiring vaguely used terms to be carefully defined. An example from the proposal is “effective teacher preparation programs,” which Whitney might consider carefully defining.