Well, at least that's what Star-Ledger columnist Tom Moran says:
Tom, maybe I've been wrong about VAM - I'll be the first to admit it if I am. I'd like to evaluate the evidence, however. Maybe you can help; I don't understand this from page 10:But the teachers union, and many obedient Democrats in the Legislature, are resisting all use of test scores in teacher evaluations.Perhaps this study can help change their minds. It finds that the kids who attended classes with effective teachers were more likely to avoid teen pregnancy, attend college and to earn more money later in life.
I have two masters degrees, a reasonable amount of training and experience in research methods, and decent amateur statistics skills. With time, patience, luck, and a little help (OK, a lot), I'll be able to get through this paper eventually.
But I would never venture an opinion about whether it informs actual policy making unless and until others with far better chops than mine go through and gave it a reading. To come out and demand policy changes based on one study of one limited sample in one city is foolish beyond belief.
I blame think tanks for this. They produce "studies" with a patina of academic rigor: references in ABA style, charts, executive summaries. Gullible policy makers and journalists look at this stuff and think, "Oh, this is easy! I can get this!"
But think-tanky stuff is not serious academic research, and no one should pretend that it is. What we have here is a serious study by people with serious academic credentials; it's not a policy brief from AEI or the Gates Foundation. It should be properly vetted and debated by people with the skills to do so before anyone tries to draw conclusions from it.
I'll be reading it during the commercials of the Giants game this Sunday...