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How Fraudulent is Florida’s VAM Scheme?

In Florida, VAM scores are a huge part of the way teachers are evaluated. Under new law, teachers can be fired for having low evaluations. What are VAM scores based on? They are based on test scores.  Let me show you how VAM scores are immoral, unethical and invalid. I will use a real life example. There are many different ways to show how VAM scores are invalid and simply political cudgels, but here is one.

Last year a student slept for most of the testing and got the lowest possible score that would qualify to count. You need to attempt a certain percentage of questions for a valid score. This student was going through a wild time at home due to divorce and several other issues. The teacher who had this student was punished on their VAM score as the student dropped a lot. This student wrote that they just “did not care” about the test that week.

Fast forward to this year. The same student took the test and went way up! What gains! But really? The student has a more stable home situation and did not sleep at all. Did the new teacher work a miracle? Of course not. The student wrote that they “stayed awake” this time. The teacher will be rewarded with a high VAM rating for this student.

It is malpractice that the Florida Department of Education(sic) uses these VAM schemes. This is medieval medicine at its worst.


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