Sarah Wysocki Washington DC teacher effectiveness assessment
Occurred: February 2012
Sarah Wysocki, a 5th grade Washington DC public school teacher was fired for receiving a poor evaluation, resulting in a heated controversy about the accuracy, fairness, value, and transparency of the region's teacher performance evaluation system.
At the time, District of Columbia Public Schools' IMPACT teacher evaluation system used test scores from schools under investigation for cheating to calculate so-called 'value-added scores' that would be incorporated into teacher evaluations. Yet teachers risked having students enter their classes with falsely inflated scores, making it difficult to meet higher expectations.
Wyosecki had earned excellent observation ratings and was highly regarded by peers and parents. However, she received an uncharacteristically low value-added score and was subsequently fired, despite evidence the evaluation generated by the algorithm was based on falsified student scores.
Her appeal against her dismissal failed, though she was quickly offered a position with another school system.
Operator: District of Columbia Public Schools
Developer: Mathematica Policy Research
Purpose: Assess and rank teacher performance
Technology: Value-added model
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - income, geography; Fairness; Effectiveness/value
Transparency: Governance; Complaints/appeals; Black box
District of Colombia Public Schools. IMPACT: The DCPS Evaluation and Feedback System for School-Based Personnel
Varma A., Dawkins C., Chaudhuri K. (2023). Artificial intelligence and people management: A critical assessment through the ethical lens
Alon-Barkat S., Busuioc M. (2023). Human–AI Interactions in Public Sector Decision Making: “Automation Bias” and “Selective Adherence” to Algorithmic Advice
Yan S. (2021). Algorithms are not bias-free: Four mini-cases
Education Writers Assocation (2012). One Teacher Feels Impact of ‘Value-Added’ Evaluations
News, commentary, analysis
Published: November 2021
Last updated: August 2023