Sunday, October 18, 2009

Value-Added Method of Teaching: Is it the Solution?

Not many dispute the fact that the education system in the United States is flawed. Teaching is a hard job and the pay is not that great. However many blame the powerful teachers unions for allowing poor teachers to keep their job and benefits while younger more eager teachers get put down for thinking of new methods to improve student performance.


There is no "right" answer to solve the multitude of issues surrounding education. However the U.S. should not lag behind any other country in education considering the fact that when Americans put their minds to it, we can be among the best in any area. We have the money, we have the resources, we have the best colleges with the brightest minds and think tanks to figure out the issues and advise about best practices.


There is no doubt we'll get it right eventually but there will be many battles, bruised egos, and law suits before the majority is happy with pre-k to 12 education.


There are two interesting articles in the October 18th Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times from writers Jason Song and Jason Felch. The articles discuss the Value-Added method of teaching. The writers explain that the value added approach attempts to level the playing field by focusing on growth rather than achievement. Using statistics, it tracks students improvement year to year, and uses that progress to estimate the effectiveness of teachers, principals, and schools.


The value-added method also challenges the following assumptions:
  • all teachers are equal
  • more money, more learning
  • teachers can't overcome a student's background
  • class size is key
  • bad teachers tend to teach in poor schools
  • teacher experience matters
  • teacher education matters
  • teacher credentials matter
If you're an educator or parent who has an opinion about the value-added method, please read the article and let us know your thoughts. The articles are located at
  • http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-myths18-2009oct18,0,4278154.story
  • and http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teacher-eval18-2009oct18,0,4471467.story

No comments: