Criticism and Concerns

A report issued by the Economic Policy Institute in August 2010 recognized that "American public schools generally do a poor job of systematically developing and evaluating teachers" but expressed concern that using performance on standardized tests as a measuring tool will not lead to better performance. The EPI report recommends that measures of performance based on standardized test scores be one factor among many that should be considered to "provide a more accurate view of what teachers in fact do in the classroom and how that contributes to student learning." The study called value-added modeling a fairer means of comparing teachers that allows for better measures of educational methodologies and overall school performance, but argued that student test scores were not sufficiently reliable as a means of making "high-stakes personnel decisions".

Edward Haertel, who led the Economic Policy Institute research team, wrote that the methodologies being pushed as part of the Race to the Top program placed "too much emphasis on measures of growth in student achievement that have not yet been adequately studied for the purposes of evaluating teachers and principals" and that the techniques of valued-added modeling need to be more thoroughly evaluated and should only be used "in closely studied pilot projects".