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The implications of summer learning loss for value-added estimates of teacher effectiveness

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-05, 10:52 authored by Seth GershensonSeth Gershenson, Michael S. Hayes

School districts across the United States increasingly use value-added models (VAMs) to evaluate teachers. In practice, VAMs typically rely on lagged test scores from the previous academic year, which necessarily conflate summer with school-year learning and potentially bias estimates of teacher effectiveness. We investigate the practical implications of this problem by comparing estimates from “cross-year” VAMs to those from arguably more valid “within-year” VAMs using fall and spring test scores from the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K). “Cross-year” and “within-year” VAMs frequently yield significant differences that remain even after conditioning on participation in summer activities.



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