Robert Jaffe Katz
A 3rd grade teacher at Nueva Vista Elementary in 2009
These graphs show a teacher's "value-added" rating based on his or her students' progress on the California Standards Tests in math and English. The Times’ analysis used all valid student scores available for this teacher from the 2002-03 through 2008-09 academic years. The value-added scores reflect a teacher's effectiveness at raising standardized test scores and, as such, capture only one aspect of a teacher's work.
Compared with other Los Angeles Unified teachers on the value-added measure of test score improvement, Katz ranked:
- More effective than average overall.
- More effective than average in math. Students of teachers in this category, on average, gained about 4 percentile points on the California Standards Test compared with other students at their grade level.
- Average in English. Students of teachers in this category, on average, did not gain or lose significantly on the California Standards Test compared with other students at their grade level.
Katz's LAUSD teaching history
2002-03 through 2008-09 academic years
- Nueva Vista Elementary, 2009 - 2003
Robert Katz's Response:
The use of a statistical model (based on the results of a standardized test) to evaluate a teacher's job performance is tempting to use because the computations needed can be quickly spit out by a computer, and the results give a snapshot of how a class performed. The problem is students' performance is based, in part, on factors outside the control of the teacher (e.g. home environment, attendance, etc). Furthermore, a statistical model gives no feedback on how a teacher can improve their job performance. Test scores should be used only as a starting point to assist in evaluating a teacher's strengths and weaknesses, not as an endpoint. A teacher's job performance should be determined by evaluating their teaching methods to ensure they are based on sound teaching principles (e.g. lessons take into account the different modalities of learning), and classroom management (e.g. proper motivation and appropriate discipline). Also,a teacher should be evaluated on their ability to perfect their teaching methods from input received from test scores, collaborating with colleagues, professional development, and advice/guidance given by the school's administration. These evaluation methods (to determine a teacher's job performance) require qualitative analysis which cannot be done by a statistical model.
The Times gave LAUSD elementary school teachers rated in this database the opportunity to preview their value-added evaluations and publicly respond. Some issues raised by teachers may be addressed in the FAQ. Teachers who have not commented may do so by contacting The Times.