Study by Ashland University Doctoral Student Finds Value in Value-Added

Study by Ashland University Doctoral Student Finds Value in Value-Added
Dr. Tom Selvage (left) receives his doctor of education degree in leadership studies from Ashland University President Dr. Fred Finks during commencement ceremonies in May.


6/3/13 ASHLAND, Ohio - A study conducted by an Ashland University doctoral student shows that Ohio’s value-added model for determining public school student achievement produces results that are less biased by factors such as family income, school district property wealth and school expenditures than other accountability measures.

“Ohio’s use of value-added scores for accountability seems to be moving the state in the right direction,” said Dr. Tom Selvage, a May graduate of Ashland University’s doctoral program in Leadership Studies. “Value-added reduces the biases that can be present in other accountability measures that are influenced by factors outside the control of schools such as poverty levels or student mobility.”

Selvage’s study used school level Ohio value-added gain scores in grades 4 and 8 reading and math from 2,349 public schools. “Whether these same results will carry over to teacher level value-added scores is not known at this time, but it looks promising,” Selvage said.

Ohio has already begun using teacher level value-added scores to evaluate teachers in some school districts and will roll out this program to all Ohio public school districts in the fall.

Selvage recently presented the results of his research to the Office of Policy and Research of the Ohio Department of Education.

Selvage’s study showed that the percentage of teachers with a masters’ degree had a positive effect on a school’s average value-added gain scores for grade 4 reading as well as a positive effect on Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) grade 4 and 8 math and grade 8 reading scores.

“Although the study did not address the specific reasons for this result, it may be due to elementary teachers often taking advanced courses in reading as part of their master’s degree programs,” he said.

He also noted that the study found that the higher the tax effort index, a measure of the extent to which local communities support their primary and secondary schools, the more likely a district was to have higher value-added gain scores in grade 4 math.

“Part of the take home message from this study is that some accountability measures can be highly influenced by factors outside the control of schools,” Selvage said. “Careful consideration needs to be given to the measures used to rate and compare schools and teachers.”

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2013, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###