What is the Value-Added Achievement Awards program?

The Value-Added Achievement Awards are annual awards program that recognize Tennessee’s most effective middle and elementary school principals. These are the leaders whose schools have excelled at raising the academic performance of their students. The program is part of the Education Consumers Foundation’s efforts to make education data clear and understandable to education’s consumers.

What is value-added assessment?

Value-added assessment is a term taken from economics. It refers not to a student’s level of achievement but to his or her year-to-year increase in achievement. The schools with the highest value-added scores are the ones doing the best job of maximizing the talents and capabilities of their students.

Why is value-added assessment a good tool for gauging achievement?

Reports of average test scores reflect the performance level of students, not the effectiveness of a school in bringing about those performance levels. School effectiveness is reflected in annual student achievement increases, and the great virtue of value-added assessment is that it accurately reports achievement gains regardless of students’ beginning test scores or social, economic, ethnic, or other background differences. By statistically leveling the playing field, it permits users to compare the achievement gains produced by different teachers, schools, and school systems regardless of the advantages or disadvantages had by their students.

What is TVAAS?

The Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) is the name of the accountability system created for Tennessee by Dr. William Sanders. It uses a sophisticated form of value-added analysis called “mixed model analysis” to determine the true academic performance of students, teachers, schools, and school systems.

How are the winners chosen?

By extracting and analyzing the data available via the Tennessee Department of Education’s website, the Education Consumers Foundation identifies the first, second, and third highest performing elementary and middle school principals in Tennessee’s East, Middle, and West Grand Divisions. Only principals who have served in their present position for five or more years are eligible. For more information on the selection process, visit our overview of the Value-Added Achievement Awards .

What do winners receive?

The top three elementary and middle school principals in each division are awarded $3,000, $2000, or $1,000 in a ceremony at the state capitol. They also receive a certificate of recognition, a flag for display at their school, and highlighting of their accomplishment on the Education Consumers Foundation website and in press materials.

Is there an awards ceremony?

Yes; the 2006 ceremony was held at the state capitol on May 8, 2006. It was co-hosted by Dr. John Stone, President of the Education Consumers Foundation and Tennessee Education Commissioner Lana Seivers. This year’s ceremony will be held May 7, 2007 at the state capitol and will again be co-hosted by Dr. Stone and Commissioner Seivers.

Why are the awards based only on reading/language arts and math achievement?

Reading and math are cornerstone subjects. Students cannot receive a solid education without mastery of both, thus a school cannot be considered excellent without superior performance in both subjects.

Why the focus on Tennessee?

The Education Consumers Foundation’s Value-Added Achievement Awards were launched in Tennessee because the state’s education accountability system is the most advanced in the nation. Value-Added Systems are being implemented in Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania and are being evaluated for use as a national model. The awards program will be expanded to other states and districts as value-added data becomes more widely available.

How does this program benefit education’s consumers?

The Awards program enables consumers to see how well Tennessee’s best schools perform. By syntheizing Tennessee’s voluminous accountability data, the Foundation’s School Performance Chart enables parents, policymakers, and interested citizens to compare their local schools to each other, to state standards, and to the highest performers–a feat that would otherwise be very difficult to undertake.

How can I learn more about achievement in Tennessee schools?

The Education Consumer’s Foundation website features easy-to-use interactive charts that display the annual achievement gains of all Tennessee elementary and middle schools. To view them, visit the School Performance Charts page . The Tennessee Department of Education also offers a great deal of information on student demographics, student acheivement levels, and other indicators of school quality www.state.tn.us/education.