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For more than a decade, a glitchy and unaccountable algorithm has been making life difficult for America's teachers. The good news is that its reign of terror might finally be drawing to a close.
I first became acquainted with the Value-Added Model in 2011, when a friend of mine, a high school principal in Brooklyn, told me that a complex mathematical system was being used to assess her teachers -- and to help decide such important matters as tenure. I offered to explain the formula to her if she could get it. She said she had tried, but had been told “it’s math, you wouldn’t understand it.”
This was the first sign that something very weird was going on, and that somebody was avoiding scrutiny by invoking the authority and trustworthiness of mathematics. Not cool. The results have actually been terrible, and may be partly to blame for a national teacher shortage.