Collaborative Research: RealVAMS- Getting Real-World Value from Value Added Models

Project: Research project

Project Details


RealVAMS is an innovative approach to assess the impact of a teacher or intervention program on real-world outcomes. Measuring teacher and program effectiveness has become increasingly important in recent years as a result of the test-based accountability movement. Value Added Models (VAMs) attempt to measure a teachers impact on student achievement beyond what is expected of a student given the students and his or her peers prior performance and demographic information. Current VAMs primarily use standardized tests as measures of student achievement. Thus, a value added estimate of a teachers or programs effectiveness is limited by the standardized test. Often, the goal of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education project is not adequately measured by a test. Real world outcomes, such as STEM career-persistence, are likely more relevant outcome measures. RealVAMS will develop a multidimensional VAM (MVAM) to show the relationships among contributions of a teacher or program toward different student outcomes and allow consideration of real-world outcomes such as graduation or having a career in a STEM field. While a MVAM cannot capture the full complexity of student achievement, this methodology can provide a much better picture than relying solely on univariate test scores. At present, a MVAM for real-world outcomes is infeasible for a large data set. The RealVAMS project will expand on existing methods to create an open source package that will allow other users to implement the multidimensional model. RealVAMS will apply the developed methodology to a data set from a large school district.
Effective start/end date10/1/133/31/17


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $159,625.00


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