The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) measures the impact schools and teachers have on their students’ academic progress. TVAAS is a powerful tool because it measures how much students grow in a year, and shines more light on student progress than solely considering their score on an end of year test. While the formula itself is complex to provide the most reliable data, there are three fundamental things everyone should know about TVAAS.
1. TVAAS measures student growth, not whether the student is proficient on the state assessment.
For example, a student who is behind academically may show significant academic growth but not be proficient on the end of year test. Another student may also not be proficient on the end of year test, but not show any growth. The teacher added a lot of value to the first student’s academic development (and increased their likelihood of being proficient in 6th grade), and little value to the second student’s academic development. TVAAS allows educators to consider their students’ achievement (their score on the end of year assessment), as well as their growth (the progress students make year to year).
2. Low-achieving students can grow, and their teachers can earn strong TVAAS scores.
When students grow more than expected, that growth is reflected in a teacher’s TVAAS score – regardless of whether the student earned below basic, basic, proficient or advanced on the state assessment. For example, Lucie E. Campbell Elementary, Georgian Hills Elementary, and Treadwell Elementary in Memphis had low achievement scores based on the TCAP, but had very high TVAAS scores.
3. High-achieving students can grow and their teachers can earn strong TVAAS scores.
Just as children grow in height each year, they also grow in academic ability. If a second grader is tall in relation to her peers, she will need to continue to grow each year to be tall relative to her peers in fifth grade. A tall second grader who does not continue to grow will soon be a short fifth grader. Likewise, our highest performing students still have room to grow academically and their teachers can still earn high TVAAS scores. Even students who consistently earn advanced scores can demonstrate growth. For example, in 2013 Williamson County had the highest achievement in the state based on the TCAP. Williamson County teachers also had some of the highest TVAAS scores in the state.