Special Report: Grading the teachers

They’re from the same neighborhood. They study the same lessons.

Yet the fifth-graders in one classroom at Broadous Elementary School in a low-income neighborhood of Los Angeles, consistently learn more than their peers down the hall. The difference? Their teachers.

For years, evaluating teachers has been as much guesswork as science. But a sophisticated statistical tool known as value-added analysis is making it possible to identify the most effective teachers, allowing their work to be emulated, as well as their less effective colleagues.

Using a database of some 1.5 million student records, the Los Angeles Times has done a value-added analysis of teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

A grant from the Hechinger Institute helped fund the newspaper’s analytical effort.

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