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UCEC Colloquium

UCEC Speakers Series


Welcome to our hosted speakers page! Here you'll find an archive of the past speakers UCEC has hosted at the UCLA campus.


Dr. Gary T. Henry

Department of Leadership, Policy and Organization

Peabody College, Vanderbilt University

What: Evaluating Value-Added Scores for Teacher Evaluation: An Empirical Examination of the Validity of Teacher Value-Added Models

When: Friday, May 30th, from 10:30am - 12:00pm

Where: Moore Hall, Room 3027

Video links (opens in YouTube):

Part 1 of 2           Part 2 of 2

By 2013, in part as a response to research indicating classroom teachers have the greatest influence on student achievement of school-based resource, 35 states required that measures of student achievement or growth in student achievement be included in the evaluation of individual teachers. Many states are using value-added models or student percentile growth models to estimate scores for individual teachers and mandating that these scores be factored into teachers overall evaluation ratings. In the first of a series of studies that I will discuss, we have examined the performance of several of these models when assumptions necessary to estimate causal effects of teachers are violated. In addition, we have examined the concurrent and predictive validity of the value-added scores using independent measures of teacher and teaching quality, including measures from principal ratings of teachers’ performance, student surveys, teacher surveys, and classroom observations. We find that three-level hierarchical linear performs best when either the assumption of unconfounded assignment of teachers and students or no peer effects (SUTVA) is violated. For year-to-year consistency, the dynamic ordinary least squares model performs best. A common policy goal – identifying the lowest performing quintile of teachers—can be done with reasonable accuracy. However, between 3.2 and 9.3 percent of all teachers are false negatives, that is, incorrectly classified as one of the lowest performing 20 percent of teachers, depending on which value-added model is used. Also, preliminary results for the entire study samples show (1) statistically significant correlations between the alternative measures of teacher and teaching quality and value-added measures; (2) alternative between-teacher estimates of teacher and teaching quality explain a small amount of the variance in teacher value-added scores with significant correlations as high as 0.35 with an academic press measure from student surveys or 0.28 with principals’ ratings of the teachers’ facilitation of student learning. Overall, the results provide some comfort that estimates of teacher effectiveness from some value-added models may add salient information to teachers’ evaluations and improve the identification of lower (and higher) performing teachers.

Dr. Thomas A. Schwandt

Department of Educational Psychology

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

What: Pursuing Professional Evaluation: Developing a Life of the Mind for Practice

When: Thursday, October 30th, from 1:00 – 3:00pm

Where: Moore Hall, Room 3320

Video links (opens in YouTube):

Part 1 of 1 

A professional approach to evaluation involves more than acquiring specialized knowledge & skills associated with evaluation models & research methods. Training in technique must be wedded to education in the capacity to engage in moral, ethical, & political reflection on the aim & means of one’s professional undertaking. I call this developing a life of the mind for practice. To be prepared in this way is to critically engage assumptions, concepts, principles, values, & ways of reasoning that inform how evaluators define & position their professional activity & argue for the usefulness of their work to society. This includes tackling issues related to what comprises evaluative evidence & how evidence is used to make claims about the merit, worth, or significance of policies & programs. It involves engaging multiple perspectives on the ethical conduct, political stance, & professional obligations of evaluation professionals. The central issue is how aspiring evaluators will learn to engage these issues, while, at the same time, they are acquiring necessary technical knowledge & skills. In short, where can they best learn about a life of the mind for professional evaluation practice?