Learning about Teaching: Initial Findings from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project
In the fall of 2009, the Gates Foundation commenced an epic task: the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project. Through thousands of hours of videotaped and live classroom observations, student and teacher surveys, and information on student achievement gains, foundation analysts labored to uncover the best indicators of teacher effectiveness, the goal being to craft systemic and reliable evaluation processes and feedback mechanisms for the future. The preliminary findings of this massive initiative are now available. And if they’re a sign what’s to come, teacher evaluations will be in for a major makeover. This preliminary report analyzes two of the project’s five measures of teacher effectiveness—student scores (on both state and external tests) and student survey responses. There were four take-aways: First, a teacher’s past success in producing student gains is highly predictive of that teacher’s ability to do so again. Second, teachers who, according to their students, “teach to the test” do not produce the highest value-added scores for said students; rather, instructors who help their students understand math concepts and reading comprehension yield the highest scores. Third, student perceptions of their teachers are remarkably telling and remain stable across groups of students and across classes taught by the same teacher. Most reflective of teacher effectiveness is students’ perceptions of whether their teacher controls the classroom and challenges them with rigorous work. The analysts end by noting that a combination of these methods provides teachers a more accurate, detailed, and targeted evaluation. These findings are just the beginning of MET. Check back in late spring for the final report—including analyses of classroom observations.
about Teaching: Initial Findings from the Measures of Effective Teaching
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
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