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Value-added indicators: A powerful tool for evaluating science and mathematics programs and policies


Educational outcome indicators frequently
are used to measure the performance of
schools, programs, and policies. Reliance
on such indicators is largely the result of a growing
demand to hold these entities accountable for
their performance, defined in terms of outcomes,
such as standardized test scores in mathematics,
science and reading, rather than inputs, such as
teacher qualifications, class size, or the quality of
lab facilities. This Brief discusses the weaknesses
of the most commonly used educational outcome
indicators -- average and median test scores and
proficiency-level indicators -- and the advantages
of value-added indicators. Several major conclusions
emerge from the analysis.