Monday, September 12, 2011

EVASS: Is It Benefiting Our Schools?

EVAAS (Education Value-Added Assessment System) is a software program designed for NC school districts for grades K-12. EVAAS provides school districts with diagnostic reports indicating the effectiveness of a school. It allows users to look at data produces reports to predict student success, achievement growth or reveal patterns in subgroup performance.

Lately there has been some controversy surrounding the usage of EVAAS. Some pros for using the EVAAS program is that it follows students through all NC schools. It offers a collection of student progress and data for up to five years from all subjects. Formulated data is used to help predict each student's future academic achievement and allow schools to identify and customize a plan for students who are at risk for under achievement. By identifying which students are at risk, teachers and administrators can be proactive by ensuring that every student has the chance to succeed. On the other hand many critics have reported that EVAAS:
  • Does not take into account a student’s background
  • Has been used as a punishment
  • Has not been sufficiently assessed in peer-reviewed scholarly journals
  • Is confusing for many teachers
  • Encourages teaching to the test
Another reason that EVAAS has gotten negative feedback is that principals say that it is not a fair assessment tool for either principals or teachers. If student scores are bad, principals can be dismissed, demoted or reassigned. If a student earns exactly the score that EVAAS predicts, then the student achieved no growth that year. Scores below or above the predicted score determines whether the student achieved positive or negative growth. EVAAS also calculates the predicted score for all students assigned to an individual teacher. If that teacher’s students score exactly the predicted average, then EVAAS considers the teacher to have had no effect on the students

EVAAS compares all teachers in North Carolina to every other teacher in the state. To this disadvantage, some teachers will always be at or below average depending on the nature of the students’ socioeconomic status and academic achievement. Using EVAAS data alone separately from observations, artifacts and other effective tools is inequitable. Despite the criticism, the use of EVAAS is being used throughout schools and districts.

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