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New York Teacher Sues State After Evaluation Deems Her 'Ineffective'

A fourth grade teacher in New York named Sheri Lederman is suing state officials after her 2013-14 evaluation rated her as an "ineffective" educator.

According to the evaluation, Lederman was awarded only one of a possible 20 points. The evaluation takes its information partly from standardized test scores, and it was concluded that Lederman's students don't measure up to New York's expectations for adequate performance.

"The evaluation method, known as value-added modeling, or VAM, purports to be able to predict through a complicated computer model how students with similar characteristics are supposed to perform on the exams — and how much growth they are supposed to show over time — and then rate teachers on how much their students compare to the theoretical students."

The ratings of this examination can affect a teacher's reputation, and can be a factor in determining pay and job security. However, Lederman's students have proven to exceed expectations in the classroom and regularly outperform the state averages on standardized tests, leading to suggest the evaluation method is flawed.

"Testing experts have for years now been warning school reformers that efforts to evaluate teachers using VAM are not reliable or valid. But reformers, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, have embraced the method as a “data-driven” evaluation solution championed by some economists."

Lederman filed a lawsuit alleging "that  the New York State Growth Measures 'actually punishes excellence in education through a statistical black box which no rational educator or fact finder could see as fair, accurate or reliable.'"

Read the full story.

By Samantha DiMauro, Education World Contributor

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