Value-Added Model (VAM) Research for Educational Policy: Framing the Issue.


  • Audrey Amrein-Beardsley Arizona State University
  • Clarin Collins Arizona State University
  • Sarah A. Polasky Arizona State University
  • Edward F. Sloat Arizona State University



Value-added, teacher evaluation, teacher accountability.


In this manuscript, the guest editors of the EPAA Special Issue on “Value-Added Model (VAM) Research for Educational Policy” (1) introduce the background and policy context surrounding the increased use of VAMs for teacher evaluation and accountability purposes across the United States; (2) summarize the five research papers and one research-based commentary that were peer-reviewed and selected for inclusion in this special issue; and (3) discuss the relevance of the papers both individually and collectively. Their importance is discussed in terms of each paper’s contribution to the general research on this topic and each paper’s potential to inform educational policy. In addition, the papers reflect our shared thinking about VAMs, VAM output, and the inference-based decisions for which VAMs are increasingly being used.


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Author Biographies

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, Arizona State University

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Her research interests include educational policy, research methods, and more specifically, high-stakes tests and value-added measurements and systems. She was also recently named as one of the top 121 edu-scholars in the nation, honored for being a university-based academic who is contributing most substantially to public debates about the nation's educational system. She is also the creator and host of a show titled Inside the Academy during which she interviews some of the top educational researchers in the academy. For more information please see:

Clarin Collins, Arizona State University

Clarin Collins, Ph.D., recently graduated from the Educational Policy and Evaluation program in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. For her dissertation study she analyzed teachers’ understanding of and experiences with the SAS Educational Value-Added Assessment System (SAS® EVAAS®) in the Houston Independent School District where SAS® EVAAS® is currently used to evaluate teachers with high-stakes consequences. Her research interests include national and local policy implementation at the classroom level, teacher influences on policymaking and implementation, and education evaluation and accountability systems.

Sarah A. Polasky, Arizona State University

Sarah A. Polasky, Ph.D. is an Assistant Research Professor at Arizona State University, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. She works as the Value-Added Specialist on the Arizona Ready-for-Rigor Project, a federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant awarded to the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University in 2010. She works to support the implementation of value-added evaluation systems in partnering districts and schools, as well as support the betterment of their evaluation and data systems (e.g., by introducing and including new and unique measures into such systems). Her related research interests include assessment systems in early childhood education, the use of alternative achievement tests (e.g., district benchmarks, formative assessments) and non-achievement (i.e., developmental) data for value-added systems in general, and the impact of socioemotional and neurological development of young children on their academic achievement and growth over time.

Edward F. Sloat, Arizona State University

Edward Sloat, M.Ed. is currently employed as the Director of Research and Accountability at Dysart Unified School District located in Surprise, Arizona. He is also a doctoral student in the Leadership and Innovation Program within the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. He has previously served in research, evaluation, and assessment leadership positions at the Arizona Department of Education, Peoria (Arizona) Unified School District, and Glendale (Arizona) Elementary School District. He regularly contributes to state technical and policy working/advisory groups concerning assessment design and accountability systems and is past president of the Arizona Education Research Organization. His academic interests focus on value-added modeling, education accountability and evaluation systems, data-driven instructional planning, applications of measurement theory, and research methods.




How to Cite

Amrein-Beardsley, A., Collins, C., Polasky, S. A., & Sloat, E. F. (2013). Value-Added Model (VAM) Research for Educational Policy: Framing the Issue. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 21, 4.




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