By the end of her second year at MacFarland Middle School, fifth-grade teacher Sarah Wysocki was coming into her own.
“It is a pleasure to visit a classroom in which the elements of sound teaching, motivated students and a positive learning environment are so effectively combined,” Assistant Principal Kennard Branch wrote in her May 2011 evaluation.
He urged Wysocki to share her methods with colleagues at the D.C. public school. Other observations of her classroom that year yielded good ratings.
Two months later, she was fired.
Wysocki, 31, was let go because the reading and math scores of her students didn’t grow as predicted. Her undoing was “value-added,” a complex statistical tool used to measure a teacher’s direct contribution to test results.