District of Columbia Public Schools: Defining Instructional Expectations and Aligning Accountability and Support
This Aspen Institute paper provides impressive detail on Michelle Rhee’s hard-fought IMPACT teacher-accountability system, explaining its mission, underlying principles, and implementation. The paper is more than just a primer on IMPACT—though it does offer a comprehensive look at the program’s rationale, philosophy, and structure. Aspen also provides principal and teacher perspectives and analyzes the program’s first year of data, offering lessons learned thus far. From the data, Aspen reports a “moderately strong correlation” (r=.57) between principal and master-educator evaluations, implying consistency in judging teacher performance. Yet, it only finds a modest correlation (r=.034) between scores generated from IMPACT’s instructional rubric and teacher value-added data, implying that the IMPACT evaluation system still needs some fine-tuning. Among the lessons offered for districts trying similar teacher-evaluation reforms: Create common expectations about what effective teaching means and looks like; understand that the hardest part of creating a teacher-performance system is helping educators improve their skills; and be aware that continued development of organizational capacity is crucial to success.
Rachel Curtis, “District of Columbia Public Schools: Defining Instructional Expectations and Aligning Accountability and Support” (Washington, D.C.: The Aspen Institute, March 2011).
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