Say No to Inappropriate VAM Use by MDCPS at Next Board Meeting, Wed, Jan 15, 5 PM


Please feel free to forward this:

I am asking you to join me and other teachers to voice our opposition to the current and unnecessary utilization of VAM for teachers not teaching state assessed the Wednesday January 15th 5 PM Public Hearing of the MDCPS School Board Meeting at 1450 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33132. If you wish to speak, you must fill in this form, print it out and fax it “Attn: Citizen Information Center” by 430 PM Monday, January 13th:

If you want, you can fax directly from your computer by “print to PDF” the filled out pdf board speaker form above. Your computer will save the filled out pdf and you can send it by following directions at

If you are like me and the majority of MDCPS School Staff, you are devastated by the seemingly random VAM score that brings down your total score.

Did you know that MDCPS’ own research department JUST published this conclusion about the VAM we are using:

“The teacher value-added estimates are so noisy that…’it is not possible to distinguish good teachers from bad teachers.’”

Did you know that University of South Florida just published an analysis of the VAM, concluding that there were only “weak relations between the observational scores of teachers’ performance and teachers’ value-added scores… the observational and VAM measures…do not often converge”

In other words the 2 different halves of our evaluations have no logical connection, rather, the VAM score appears to be random.

Now, add to the insanity of the VAM the double insanity of MDCPS choosing to evaluate last year’s teacher performance of the majority (60%) of its teachers on the basis of the average reading score gains of the whole school. This current year MDCPS plans to use YOUR students’ reading/math score gains…a move that will subject you to even more random error with such a small sample size.

Did you know this is unnecessary? Did you know the school board has the authority to develop/use APPROPRIATE assessments to measure student learning growth in the subject that the teachers teach?

Did you know that acceptable alternatives to using FCAT Reading and Math on teachers who do not teach these subjects directly include teacher-written FINAL EXAMS, AP exams, and Industry Certification exams? (see FL Statutes 1012.34 and 1008.22)

Did you know that the Florida Department of Education has provided “How-tos” to Districts to assist them in writing APPROPRIATE assessments in place of simply stuffing FCAT data down non-FCAT/non-EOC teachers’ evaluations?

Did you know that since 2011, at least 4 “old-fashioned,” country districts in Florida have done just that – written and applied their own assessments for courses not yet tested by EOCs or FCAT?
(see p10 ff, p.9 ff for 2 examples).

These bullet points are the reason I am asking you to join with me and other professional teachers who care about getting accountability right, starting with the accountability of our downtown staff to do their jobs getting accountability right for the teachers and our students.

Join us Wednesday, January 15th, at 5 PM at the School Board Auditorium, 1450 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33132.

The message is simple: we do not teach state assessed courses, MDCPS is bound legally to choose appropriate measures for us, it hasn’t but has the authority to make the changes

Let me know you will be joining us by filling out this quick form:

Please email me back with your thoughts. One that I am exploring right now is a class-action lawsuit against MDCPS for its inappropriate use of FCAT data on non-FCAT teachers.


Shawn Beightol, M.S.Ed,
Chemistry, John A Ferguson Sr. High
Miami, FL ← I will be updating this blog with news about VAM over the weekend.

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