a classroom
()

A statistical model used to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers in New York was “arbitrary” and “capricious” as it was applied to a fourth-grade teacher on Long Island in the 2013-14 school year, a state judge ruled.

The “value-added model,” or VAM, appeared to contain built-in biases against teachers like Sheri Lederman of the Great Neck district on Long Island, who have small classrooms populated mainly by high-performing students, Acting Albany Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough wrote in Lederman v. King, 5443-2014.

The arbitrariness of the teacher grading standard seems to be the only explanation of why Lederman’s “growth” rating as a teacher plummeted two spots from “effective” in 2012-13 to the lowest rating, “ineffective,” in 2013-14, McDonough ruled.

McDonough said the expert testimony produced by the state and by Lederman also indicated that teachers whose classrooms are filled with chronically low-performing students appear prone to the same precipitous drop.

“The court is constrained, on this record, to conclude that petitioner has met her high burden and established that petitioner’s growth score and rating for school year 2013-14 are arbitrary and capricious,” McDonough wrote.

While the ratings applied to all New York teachers in the 2013-14 school year, McDonough said he could not broaden his ruling past Lederman’s case and that one school year because the standards for evaluating teachers have changed.

Lederman was represented by her husband Bruce, a partner at D’Agostino, Levine, Landesman & Lederman in Manhattan. Lederman argued that the rating system unfairly impugned her abilities and that her employment as a teacher could be imperiled by receiving negative evaluations.

Assistant Attorney General Colleen Galligan defended the state.

A statistical model used to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers in New York was “arbitrary” and “capricious” as it was applied to a fourth-grade teacher on Long Island in the 2013-14 school year, a state judge ruled.

The “value-added model,” or VAM, appeared to contain built-in biases against teachers like Sheri Lederman of the Great Neck district on Long Island, who have small classrooms populated mainly by high-performing students, Acting Albany Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough wrote in Lederman v. King, 5443-2014.

The arbitrariness of the teacher grading standard seems to be the only explanation of why Lederman’s “growth” rating as a teacher plummeted two spots from “effective” in 2012-13 to the lowest rating, “ineffective,” in 2013-14, McDonough ruled.

McDonough said the expert testimony produced by the state and by Lederman also indicated that teachers whose classrooms are filled with chronically low-performing students appear prone to the same precipitous drop.

“The court is constrained, on this record, to conclude that petitioner has met her high burden and established that petitioner’s growth score and rating for school year 2013-14 are arbitrary and capricious,” McDonough wrote.

While the ratings applied to all New York teachers in the 2013-14 school year, McDonough said he could not broaden his ruling past Lederman’s case and that one school year because the standards for evaluating teachers have changed.

Lederman was represented by her husband Bruce, a partner at D’Agostino, Levine, Landesman & Lederman in Manhattan. Lederman argued that the rating system unfairly impugned her abilities and that her employment as a teacher could be imperiled by receiving negative evaluations.

Assistant Attorney General Colleen Galligan defended the state.