Each year in France, the Education Ministry publishes value-added indicators of high schools (“IVAL” in French, or “VAM” in English) that seek to measure the effectiveness of educational practices. Regarded as reliable management tools, these IVALs play an important role in school educators’ decision-making processes. Yet, these IVALs are limited because they do not account for sampling variance, which confounds high school effects with statistical “noise” (i.e., chance effects). Retracing the history of these indicators—from their origins in school effectiveness research, to their dissemination in France—, this study shows why this limitation poses a measurement problem that can alter a reliable evaluation of school effectiveness. To address this issue, alternative estimation strategies are proposed. The relevance of this critique is illustrated in a study of 112 high schools from the academic region of Grenoble and of their effectiveness in facilitating graduation from high school.
- IVAL [high school value-added indicator]
- Value added
- High school
- Multilevel analysis