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Misconception: EVAAS reporting is not reliable or valid since it is based only on state summative assessments.

Educators might be concerned that value-added reporting is limited to the use of state summative tests. Perhaps they feel that the assessments do not correlate well with the curriculum or that there isn't sufficient stretch to measure progress of very low- or high-achieving students. However, EVAAS estimates use a sophisticated modeling approach to address many of the concerns of using state summative tests, and SAS reviews the test scores annually to ensure that they are an appropriate use for EVAAS value-added reporting.

EVAAS in Theory

Student test scores are the basic ingredient of all EVAAS analyses. EVAAS is not involved in and has no control over test construction. M-STEP assessments are aligned to the appropriate Michigan grade- and subject-level state standards that are sufficient for longitudinal modeling and prediction. Regardless, before using any tests in EVAAS modeling, rigorous data processing and analyses verify that the tests meet the following three criteria. The tests:

  • Must be designed to assess the academic standards
  • Must be reliable and valid (usually related to the number of test questions)
  • Must demonstrate sufficient stretch at the extremes

To date, M-STEP assessments have met these criteria. More specifically, EVAAS analyses verify that there are enough different scaled scores at the top and bottom of the scales to differentiate student achievement. This processing also analyzes the percentage of students scoring at the top and bottom scores to ensure there are no ceilings or floors. After all analyses are completed and EVAAS estimates are available, SAS verifies that districts and schools serving both high- and low-achieving students can show both high and low growth. This process is repeated every year.

EVAAS in Practice

Actual data may be the most readily apparent way to show that there is sufficient stretch in Michigan's state assessments to measure the growth of low-, middle-, and high-achieving students. The figure below plots the average achievement for each school in Michigan against the growth index (the value-added growth measure divided by its standard error) for M-STEP Mathematics in grades 4-8 in 2019. The figure demonstrates that schools serving both high- and low-achieving students can show both high and low growth, as measured by EVAAS.