A Formula to Determine the Efficacy of a Formula to Determine Efficacy of a Formula…Uh Oh…Can You Say “Infinite Recursion?”

Shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=584

I just read David Smilley’s Herald article “Miami-Dade Schools considers training on conducting evaluations” and got stuck on this: “the School Board could approve negotiations with a vendor to create a new system worth up to $2.3 million to train and certify school administrators on how to conduct classroom observations.”

So, let me get this straight – a “vendor” is going to certify that administrators can certify teachers to certify students?  Hmmmmm….who is going to certify the ones (vendor) certifying the ones (administrators) certifying the ones (teachers) certifying the students?  And, who is going to certify the vendors?

So, we’ll also need a VAM formula to measure the effect of the principal on the teachers…and a VAM to measure the Vendor’s effect on the Administrators…and a VAM formula to…

In brief, a formula to measure the efficacy of a formula that measures the efficacy of a formula that measures the efficacy of…you get it…its like facing 2 mirrors at each other and looking in…it’s an infinite recursion.

But really, that’s crazy talk.  They don’t want to carry this out to its logical limit, they just want to create/justify a new layer of bureaucracy.  Hey, their friends need to pay their mortgages for their winter and summer homes too!

Mr. Smilley’s article concludes with “In Miami-Dade, Carvalho has said the formula is “mathematically sound,”

I always knew he was a better mathematician than me…if anyone can figure out “Θ ̃_j={(N_j σ_t^2)/(N_j (σ_s^2+σ_t^2 )+σ_e^2 )} * (∑_(i=1)^(N_j) r_((j)i) )/N_j    where σ_t^2 is the teacher level variance, σ_s^2 is the school level variance, σ_e^2 is the residual variance, N_j denotes the number of students in class j and the notation (j)i is used to mean that student i in class j. Equation 1 above is nothing more than the scalar representation of the commonly used matrix notation: Θ ̃=DZ^’ V^(-1) (y-Wδ) where V=ZDZ^’+Ω. and V is block-diagonal”…etc ad naseum,

Our science teacher/superintendent can!

Funny, ’cause the guys paid to research BS like the Florida VAM model have to say this in their abstract on a study of the general mathematics behind specific states’ VAM models: “We also explore the potential impact of model misspecifications, including missing student covariates and assumptions about the accumulation of teacher effects over time, on key inferences made from the models…student characteristics are likely to confound estimated teacher effects when schools serve distinctly different populations.”  (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2743034/ – got my summer reading now!).

Sounds to me like there’s a bunch of room for errors (like, um, Ferguson students are a totally “different population” than Krop or Carol City or Beach High.

Anyway, for you OCD nerd-types like me, you know you’ll be dissecting this NIH and related studies this summer to understand where Florida’s VAM falls short…as we prepare for the certain lawsuits that will abound from this idiocy.

Did we really elect these people?

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  • saltlife

    No, we didn’t elect him, he was appointed…….remember! :)

  • saltlife

    You really don’t have to be a math wizard to know they manipulate the numbers year after year and the union gets bought year after year!

  • Rick Lapworth

    Yes, someone needs to train my AP (in charge of our sci-dept.) how to do observations, or better yet, just spend enough time doing them (not some superficial 10 minutes a year). Thank God they believe I’m competent because no admin has even been in my room yet this year, and it is half-way over. Seriously, I would argue for random videotaping of each teacher, with at least 1 hr of data for the year, where a team of committed peers/admins look, evaluate and make recommendations.nWe have a physics teacher who only teaches 1/4 of physics (he never leaves kinematics all year, no wave, fluids, optic, emf, circuits, etc) all year, because he focuses on “modeling” and yet never gets held accountable (even my dept head ignores this). The guy next to me teaches from the book 90% of the time, while he is at his computer 90% of the time, and shows no passion or effort to really teach (even the students comment on his sour demeanor). Yet, our AP does not see this, know this, etc, and these people are “effective”. The lack of professionalism and passion in some of our dept is SHOCKING, and NOTHING gets remediated (except newer teachers that are effective get surplused, while stuffy/inefficient “veterans” are retained????