Sarah Wysocki fired after inaccurate teacher effectiveness assessment

Occurred: February 2012

5th grade Washington DC public school teacher Sarah Wysocki was fired for receiving a poor evaluation by an algorithm, 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. 

Wyosecki had earned excellent observation ratings and was highly regarded by peers and parents. But 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
Country: USA
Sector: Education
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

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: November 2021
Last updated: June 2024