Using students’ test scores to assess the efficacy of their teachers—a method known as the “value added” (VA) approach—has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. It has also become increasingly controversial. Critics suggest that it’s neither fair nor accurate to base teacher evaluation on the performance of students who bring widely varying skill levels to a classroom. They also question whether having a high-VA teacher is pertinent to students’ long-term well-being. In a pair of linked…

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