What the research shows about teacher evaluation systems
Education Next, Summer 2011
This article reports results from the ongoing study of the Cincinnati Teacher Evaluation System, namely that evaluations based on well-executed classroom observations do identify effective teachers. Further, scores on the classroom observation component of Cincinnati’s evaluation system accurately predicted the achievement gains made by their students in reading and math.
The New Teacher Project, 2009
This highly influential study highlights the long-time failure among school districts to recognize and respond to the effectiveness of teachers. The Widget Effect describes the tendency of districts to assume classroom effectiveness is the same from teacher to teacher The study surveyed over 15,000 teachers and 1,300 administrators from four different states and 12 districts to determine the differences that exist in measuring teacher effectiveness. The report found that the "widget effect" is characterized by the following:
- All teachers are rated good or great,
- Excellence goes unrewarded,
- Poor performance goes unaddressed, and
- Professional development systems are inadequate to the challenge.
Teacher Layoff System”
The New Teacher Project, March 2011
The New Teacher Project shows the need for high quality evaluation systems in order to lay off teachers in a manner that is fairer and more equitable to students. Diminishing budgets have forced many districts to lay off teachers in an attempt to save money. While layoffs alone are bad news, they become even more harmful when they are based on antiquated measures such as “last in, first out.” This policy brief looks at the harm that these quality blind layoffs can have, and what needs to be done to protect the jobs of the best teachers.
Student Performance Measures into Teacher Evaluation Systems”
Rand Corporation, 2010
The authors of this report recognize the urgent need to incorporate student performance measurements into teacher evaluation systems. They argue that policy makers should take into consideration certain factor when designing teacher evaluation systems. These considerations include reliability (the extent to which student measurements are consistent), and validity (the extent to which the interpretations of student scores are justified by the evidence). To discuss and illustrate how some states and districts are taking these considerations into account the report highlights five jurisdictions: Denver, Colorado; Hillsborough County, Florida; the state of Tennessee; Washington, D.C.; and the state of Delaware.
Can teacher evaluations actually improve teacher
performance? Using eight years of data from the Cincinnati’s
Teacher Evaluation System (TES), NBER found that a teacher’s performance in
math improved. A teacher’s performance in math improved both during the
evaluation period and afterwards. For example, a teacher whose pupils had
typically scored in the 50th percentile on math tests before being evaluated
saw results in the 55th percentile range in the years after their initial
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