What is the Florida Value Added Model that this teacher database is built on?

We could devote pages to explaining this, but we will try to provide a brief explanation and then link to more detailed information. Bottom line, while not perfect, the Florida VAM provides the best statewide data anyone in the United States has ever had to measure the actual value added by teachers.

How does the Florida VAM work?

It calculates the expected amount of growth a student should make in a given year, based on prior year results for this student and adjusted for certain characteristics of students, classrooms and schools that are included in the model. The model attempts to provide a fair evaluation by accounting for differences in proficiency and other characteristics of students assigned to teachers in the State of Florida. The VAM will show whether students made the expected amount of growth, have made less growth than expected, or have made progress beyond expectations.

What characteristics of students and classrooms are used  to adjust expected scores in the VAM.

• Up to 2 years of prior achievement data
• Number of subject relevant courses in which a student is enrolled
• Students with Disabilities (SWD) status
• English Language Learner (ELL) status
• Gifted status
• Attendance
• Mobility (number of transitions)
• Retention (measured by difference from the most common age in grade)

The following classroom characteristics are included:
• Class size
• Similarity of students prior test scores in the class

How does the VAM differ from just looking at raw student value gains?

It attempts to more accurately  answer the question, “How much value did a teacher add to their student’s growth?” Learning gains, as used for school grades, measure changes in student scores from one year to the next without taking into account prior achievement or other student characteristics and without adjusting for student or classroom differences.

For more detailed information, click Value-AddedModelTechnicalReport1213