Shocker: ECS Will Honor Originator of VAM

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Education Cpmmission of the States will present its James Bryant Conant award to Willism Sanders. Sanders is a pioneer of VAM (also known as value-added measurement or modeling).

VAM is probably the single worst feature of corporate reform, the one that is most likely to demoralize teachers, lead to early retirements, and to the decline in new recruits to teaching. Sanders promotes the idea that teachers can be evaluated by the test scores of their students. He pioneered VAM in Tennessee in the late 1980s and today it is a widely used methodology, even though Sanders has copyrighted his methods; it is proprietary and other researchers are not allowed to understand how it works.

Although Sanders’ team markets his product with grandiose claims, one need only look at Tennessee to see that it is not near the top of NAEP. After 30 years of VAM, what does Tennessee have…

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