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Zais Value-Added Results: 34% of Teachers Deficient...18% Failing

on Thu, 05/15/2014 - 21:01


At the April meeting of the State Board of Education, Mick Zais’ staff claimed it would be impossible to share any data from the Beta and Pilot tests of their Educator Evaluation system without violating teachers’ privacy. 


They repeatedly stated that the only data they had was on individual teachers and had their names on it.  Meanwhile, those teachers were denied access to their own data.

Numerous formal and informal requests for project data were refused.  When The SCEA presented a FOIA request, Zais' staff refused to comply until after the legal deadline (and after a pivotal State Board meeting).

After Board members insisted on seeing something, Dept. staff agreed to present some aggregated data at a closed-door session in a hotel conference room on May 14th. 

They forgot to lock the door.  Sure, it would have been illegal, but so is withholding data from a publicly-funded research project. 


I watched staff click three times on the Dashboard of their evaluation database

What to my wondering eyes should appear, but the non-existent data...complete with pie chart!

Here’s the data from the Beta test of 1,324 teachers:


Value-Added Ratings:

Category 1 (Ineffective) - 18% of teachers

Category 2 (Needs Improvement) - 16% of teachers

Category 3 -  (Effective) - 42% of teachers ....defined as "a full year's growth"

Category 4 - (Exemplary) - 10% of teachers

Category 5 - (Highly Effective) - 13% of teachers


During this presentation, Ms. Briana Timmerman stated that she would be recommending that teachers whose composite rating was “Ineffective” for two years should lose their license.

Confusingly, she repeatedly asserted (on the basis of NO evidence) that those Ineffective teachers are not bad teachers. 

Rather, they just don’t know how to teach for growth because they only focus on their “bubble kids” since NCLB emphasizes proficiency rates.

After a few years on the Zais Plan, she predicted those numbers would fall. 



  • If Zais’ system were enacted, 18% of these teachers would be in danger of losing their teaching license. 
  • An astonishing 34% would be marked as deficient (Ineffective or Needs Improvement) on a metric with a 36% Error Rate, and reliability ratings worse than a coin toss (consistently below 50%).


Teachers should not be fired, harassed, or placed on an improvement plan on the basis of junk science

Kids should not be taught by teachers who are under pressure to produce a number.  That might be the right strategy for a used car lot.  It’s not the right approach for children.


I'm sure Team Zais would want you to know that the VAM score only counts for 30% of your evaluation. 

Feeling better yet?


Would you like to see how that played out when these VAM scores were plugged into the full composite evaluation formula? 

You're out of luck...Ms. Timmerman claims that the composite data was never compiled.


CALL or EMAIL State Board members TODAY!


Tell them to reject the Zais evaluation plan.  It uses student test scores to judge and fire teachers, even though a mountain of evidence indicates that the method is dangerously unreliable.