'Value added' Measurement of School Effectiveness: A critical review

Lesley Saunders

01 January 1999

'value added' is one of those ideas which make intuitive sense but are harder to pin down in practice. A critical review of 'value added' in education was particularly relevant in the late 1990s. The introduction of the national value added system from autumn 1998 came at the end of a decade of sustained and public argument about how to measure pupils' performance in a way that sheds light on schools' contribution to their progress.

This report reviews over one hundred articles, reports and features; it concludes that whilst much has been learnt about the contribution of 'value added' to school effectiveness and improvement, the challenges which the idea continues to hold out for practitioners, managers and researchers are substantial.