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Value-added methodology for estimating professional development program effects

Pamela S Fellers, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Education reform efforts are devoting significant resources for teacher professional development opportunities; and funding agencies expect these professional development programs will result in higher student achievement. Appropriate and reliable evaluation methods are needed to measure program effectiveness, and value-added methodology is a tool that can provide an estimate of program impact on student achievement. Value-added modeling estimates the contribution of educational factors, such as school or teacher, on student achievement and is already widely used in education accountability. This methodology can be extended to capture the effect of a professional development program. However, there is still much debate about the validity and appropriate use of estimates from value-added models. This dissertation lays out an extension of one currently used value-added model to estimate professional development program effects on student achievement and then provides an extensive examination into the validity of resulting model estimates. Specifically, the methodology presented estimates a participating teacher's effect on student achievement both before the program and after the program, attributing the change to the program. A simulation study verifies the model's ability to accurately capture program effects with idealized data. However, since the student achievement data commonly available to researchers is complex in nature, the sensitivity of the estimates to violations of assumptions and model specification is further studied. Non-random assignment of students to classrooms, assessment ceiling effects, and student-specific growth trajectories are three modeling challenges addressed via simulation.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Fellers, Pamela S, "Value-added methodology for estimating professional development program effects" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3642746.