William Sanders is a statistician, former professor and director of the Value-Added Assessment Center at the University of Tennessee, and the former leader of the EVAAS group at SAS Institute, Inc. He developed the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS), also known as the Educational Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS), a method for measuring a teacher’s effect on student performance by tracking the progress of students against themselves over the course of their school career with their assignment to various teachers’ classes. “Dr. William Sanders has been a national leader in value-added assessments and his work has been a key policy discussion in states across the nation. His achievements are a perfect fit for the James Bryant Conant Award, and especially timely given the 50th anniversary of Education Commission of the States,” said Jeremy Anderson, president of ECS. Sanders stands for a hopeful and controversial view: teacher effectiveness dwarfs all other factors as a predictor of student academic growth. His position challenges decades of assumptions that student family life, income or ethnicity has more effect on student learning. Sanders believes, in brief, that teachers matter most. His work is the foundation of the entire accountability system in Tennessee. Since 1992, it’s been changing the way that teachers assess students, the way that principals assess teachers and the way that superintendents assess principals. “With regard to student academic progress, the effectiveness of adults within buildings is more important than the mailing addresses of their students,” Sanders said. With a lifetime of work dedicated to enabling citizens and lawmakers to better assess how effectively teachers teach, William Sanders epitomizes the spirit of James Bryant Conant.

 PUBLISHED: November 2, 0201

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