SAS® EVAAS® for K-12
Assess and predict student performance with precision and reliability
Dr. William L. Sanders
Dr. William L. Sanders is a Senior Research Fellow with the University of North Carolina system and is Senior Manager of Value-Added Assessment and Research for SAS in Cary, NC. He assumed the SAS position in June of 2000, upon retiring after more than 34 years as Professor and Director of the University of Tennessee's Value-Added Research and Assessment Center. In July 2006, Sanders testified before the House Education and Workforce Committee about the reauthorization of NCLB. In February 2007, he shared his research in a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Round Table discussion on teacher incentives. In 2006 the Education Research Center reported the most influential research on the last decade's national educational policy, and Sanders' value-added research developed for Tennessee ranked sixth. Sanders strongly believes that education is about providing all students better opportunities in life, and that measuring the influence of schooling on their achievement provides vital information for improving America's schools. Over the last 20 years, Sanders and his colleagues have developed and refined a methodology to measure the influence that school systems, schools and teachers have on the academic progress of students. This influence is the value added by schooling. By following the academic progress of each student over time and using statistical mixed-model techniques, Sanders has demonstrated that both accelerators and impediments to sustained academic growth can be measured in a fair, objective and unbiased manner. His value-added approach to assessment provides crucial diagnostic information for principals and teachers and can also be used as the basis for district or state accountability models.
Sanders has served as an adviser to policymakers at the federal level; he has worked with many states and districts interested in developing a value-added component to leverage their testing data into more precise and reliable information for better decision making. Many of his suggestions concerning measurement of outcome were incorporated into Tennessee's Educational Improvement Act (1992), and in 2006 he worked with Tennessee to submit one of the first USED-approved growth model proposals to augment its NCLB AYP measures. Using Sanders’ Battelle for Kids work as a model, Ohio has added a growth component to its accountability program that includes grades four through eight in 2007. Ohio’s student projections were also approved as one of the USED’s NCLB Growth Model pilots. The Pennsylvania State Board of Education approved the first value-added pilots in the commonwealth in 2003, and in 2006 all Pennsylvania districts and schools received value-added results for the first time. The North Carolina State Board of Education provides value-added and student projection reporting to each of the districts in North Carolina.
To accommodate the technical requirements of a mixed-model application of the scope of SAS EVAAS, Sanders and his colleagues have developed a software system capable of solving thousands of equations iteratively. This complex system enables a massive multivariate, longitudinal analysis using all achievement data for each student, even those with incomplete testing histories, to estimate the effects of teachers, schools and school systems. The development of this software has allowed the inherent advantages of longitudinal analyses to be extended to a statewide application, previously unavailable from commercial software. Compared to simpler approaches to educational value-added assessment, the SAS EVAAS system offers a number of advantages.
In addition to his assignment as Director of the Value-Added Research and Assessment Center at the University of Tennessee, Sanders had leadership responsibilities for the Statistical and Computing Services Unit and served as an adjunct professor in the department of statistics within the College of Business Administration. Outside the area of education, he has been a statistical consultant to the agricultural, manufacturing, engineering and development industries. He has served as a statistical consultant to numerous regional research projects involving researchers from many universities and disciplines.
Sanders was the Jason Millman Memorial Lecturer at the National Evaluation Institute in San Jose, CA (July 2000). He received his bachelor's degree and doctorate from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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