Aaron Panofsky, associate professor of Public Policy, has been named the UCLA Center for American Politics and Public Policy’s Kenneth L. Sokoloff Fellow for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The CAPPP Faculty Research Fellows program is meant to help support ladder faculty initiate, conduct or complete research on U.S. political and policy processes and institutions. Each year, one of the faculty researchers receives the Sokoloff named fellowship in honor of UCLA economic history scholar Kenneth Sokoloff. This year that honor went to Professor Panofsky.
Panofsky’s project proposal is for “Value Added Modeling” which is an emerging technique for evaluating the quality of teachers in terms of which ones do better and worse jobs of improving student test scores.
“VAM is controversial in the social scientific community – there is disagreement whether it can effectively distinguish better and worse teachers – yet it is being implemented in many states for personnel decisions,” Panofsky explained. “My project aims to talk to the experts to learn their different understandings of VAM and the controversy surrounding it, and then to look at how the controversy is affecting VAM’s implementation.”
There was a highly competitive set of applications for the research fellows program this year. Panofsky’s project stood out for its excellence, CAPPP Director Joel D. Aberbach said. The fellowship award comes with a grant, which will allow Panofsky to hire a graduate research assistant. This assistant, Zachary Griffen (PhD candidate in sociology) will be designated the Marvin Hoffenberg Research Fellow.
“I am honored to have received the CAPPP fellowship and especially to be named the Sokoloff Fellow,” Panofsky said. “I am excited to contribute to the great tradition of research on policy and politics that the Center has long supported.”