Inside IMPACT: D.C.???s Model Teacher Evaluation System
Outsiders have envied, emulated, and damned D.C.’s famous teacher-evaluation system, IMPACT. But what is the insiders’ perspective? This report from Ed Sector delivers the answer. Author Susan Headden, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, presents a thorough and balanced perspective on this revolutionary (but still emergent) system. She explains the core elements of IMPACT (the classroom observations, instructional buckets against which teachers are measured, etc.), and weaves a narrative that effectively captures the experience of (a sample of) observed teachers, “master educators” (the ones conducting the observations), as well as principals, union leaders, and District staff responsible for developing the system. She notes a few red flags (the distribution of IMPACT’s large performance bonuses are concentrated in already high-performing schools, for example) and details a few places where IMPACT could be improved, notably by doing more to help develop educators rather than simply reward or punish them. But progress is being made on that front. Based on our own interviews (below), we found that, overwhelmingly, teachers saw monumental improvements in professional development, and that the new system gave them specific, tangible ways to enhance instruction.
|Click to listen to commentary on the D.C. IMPACT-based firings from the Education Gadfly Show podcast
Susan Headden, “Inside IMPACT: D.C.’s Model Teacher Evaluation System,” (Washington, D.C.: Education Sector, June 2011).
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