State Data Systems: Utah

2015 Identifying Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should have a data system that contributes some of the evidence needed to assess teacher effectiveness.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2015). State Data Systems: Utah results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/UT-State-Data-Systems-71

Analysis of Utah's policies

Utah's longitudinal data system for providing evidence of teacher effectiveness is mandated, or data system use is required in state policy.

Utah defines teacher of record as the teacher to whom students are assigned for the purposes of reporting for state department of education data submissions. The state does not have a process in place for teacher roster verification. 

Utah publishes annually its Utah University Education Graduates Analysis, which lists the number of licenses issued by area of concentration per recommending institution (not all licensure areas are included), along with how many program completers from each recommending institution were cumulatively employed by the various districts throughout the state. However, no connection is made between these data and specific district-level hiring statistics.

Citation

Recommendations for Utah

Develop a definition of "teacher of record" that can be used to provide evidence of teacher effectiveness. 
To ensure that data provided through the state data system are actionable and reliable, Utah should articulate a definition of teacher of record and require its consistent use throughout the state. The state's definition should reflect instruction rather than grading, and it should put in place a process for teacher roster verification. 

Strengthen data link between teachers and students.
Although the state's teacher-student data link can connect more than one educator to a particular student in a given course, Utah should put in place a process for teacher roster verification. This is of particular importance for using the data system to provide evidence of teacher effectiveness.

Connect supply data to district hiring statistics. 
Utah is on the right track in reporting teacher production data. However, it should strengthen its data collection practices by connecting program completion and licensure rates to district hiring statistics and using these data to inform policy decisions. 

State response to our analysis

Utah recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

How we graded



Research rationale

It is an inefficient use of resources for individual districts to build their own data systems for value-added analyses.
States need to take the lead and provide districts with state-level data that can be used for the purpose of measuring teacher effectiveness.  Furthermore, multiple years of data are necessary to enable meaningful determinations of teacher effectiveness. Value-added analysis requires both student and teacher identifiers and the ability to match test records over time.  Such data is useful not just for teacher evaluation but also to measure overall school performance and the performance of teacher preparation programs. 

Additional elements are needed to use data to assess teacher effectiveness.
States need to have some advanced elements in place in order to apply data from the state data system fairly and accurately to teacher evaluations. State must have a clear definition of teacher of record that connects teachers to the students they actually instruct and not just students who may be in a teacher's homeroom or for whom the teacher performs administrative but not instructional duties. There should also be in place a process for roster verification, ideally occurring multiple times a year, to ensure that students and teachers are accurately matched. Systems should also have the ability to connect multiple educators to a single student. While states may establish different business rules for such situations, what it is important is that the mechanism exists, in recognition of the many possible permutations of student and teacher assignments. 

State Data Systems: Supporting Research
The Data Quality Campaign tracks the development of states' longitudinal data systems by reporting annually on states' inclusion of 10 elements in their data systems. Among these 10 elements are the three key elements (Elements 1, 3 and 5) that NCTQ has identified as being fundamental to the development of value-added assessment. For more information, see http://www.dataqualitycampaign.org.

For information about the use of student-growth models to report on student-achievement gains at the school level, see P. Schochet and H. Chiang, "Error Rates in Measuring Teacher and School Performance Based on Student Test Score Gains", July 2010, U.S. Department of Education, NCEE 2010-4004; as well as The Commission on No Child Left Behind, Commission Staff Research Report: Growth Models, An Examination Within the Context of NCLB, Beyond NCLB: Fulfilling the Promise to Our Nation's Children, 2007.

For information about the differences between accountability models, including the differences between growth models and value-added growth models, see P. Goldschmidt, P. Roschewski, K Choi, W. Auty, S. Hebbler, R. Blank, and A. Williams, "Policymakers' Guide to Growth Models for School Accountability: How Do Accountability Models Differ?" Council of Chief State School Officers' Report, 2005 at: http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/2005/Policymakers_Guide_To_Growth_2005.pdf

For information regarding the methodologies and utility of value-added analysis see, C. Koedel and J. Betts, "Does Student Sorting Invalidate Value-Added Models of Teacher Effectiveness? An Extended Analysis of the Rothstein Critique", Education Finance and Policy, Volume 6, No. 1, Winter 2011, pp. 18-42; D. Goldhaber and M. Hansen, "Assessing the Potential of Using Value-Added Estimates of Teacher Job Performance for Making Tenure Decisions." The Urban Institute/Calder, February 2010, Working Paper 31, and S. Glazerman, S. Loeb, D. Goldhaber, D. Staiger, S. Raudenbush, and G. Whitehurst, "Evaluating Teachers; The Important Role of Value-Added." Brookings Brown Center Task Group on Teacher Quality, November 2010; S. Glazerman, D. Goldhaber, S. Loeb, S. Raudenbush, D. Staiger, G. Whitehurst, and M. Croft, Passing Muster: Evaluating Teacher Evaluation Systems, The Brookings Brown Center Task Group on Teacher Quality, April 2011; D. N. Harris, "Teacher value-added: Don't end the search before it starts," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 28, No. 4, Autumn 2009, pp. 693-699. H.C. Hill, "Evaluating value-added models: A validity argument approach," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 28, No. 4, Autumn 2009, pp. 700-709; T.J. Kane and D.O. Staiger, "Estimating teacher impacts on student achievement: An experimental evaluation". National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 14607, December 2008.

There is no shortage of studies using value-added methodologies by researchers including T.J. Kane, E. Hanushek, S. Rivkin, J.E. Rockoff, and J. Rothstein. See also T.J. Kane and D.O. Staiger, "Estimating teacher impacts on student achievement: An experimental evaluation". National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 14607, December 2008; E.A. Hanushek and S.G. Rivkin, "Generalizations about using value-added measures of teacher quality." American Economic Review , Volume 100, No. 2, May 2010, pp. 267-271; J. Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement."The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 125, No. 1,February 2010, pp. 175-214; T.J. Kane and D.O. Staiger, "Estimating teacher impacts on student achievement: An experimental evaluation". National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No.14607, December 2008. S.G. Rivkin, E.A. Hanushek, and J.F. Kain. "Teachers, Schools, and  Academic Achievement." Econometrica, Volume 73, No. 2, March 2005, pp. 417-458; E.A. Hanushek, 2010, "The Difference is Great Teachers," In Waiting for "Superman": How We Can Save America's Failing Public Schools, Karl Weber, ed., pp. 81-100, New York: Public Affairs.

See also NCTQ's "If Wishes Were Horses" by Kate Walsh at: http://www.nctq.org/p/publications/docs/wishes_horses_20080316034426.pdf and the National Center on Performance Incentives at: www.performanceincentives.org.

For information about the limitations of value-added analysis, see Jesse Rothstein, "Do Value-Added Models Add Value? Tracking, Fixed Effects, and Causal Inference." Princeton University and NBER. Working Paper No. 159, November 2007 as well as Dale Ballou, "Value-added Assessment: Lessons from Tennessee," Value Added Models in Education: Theory and Applications, ed. Robert W. Lissitz (Maple Grove, MN: JAM Press, 2005). See also Dale Ballou, "Sizing Up Test Scores," Education Next, Volume 2, No. 2, Summer 2002, pp. 10-15.