Evaluating Teacher Eval

Teacher evaluation is one of those hot topics in K-12 education right now.  How do we evaluate educators?  Should test scores count?  If so, for how much?  How does observation fit?  What non-academic, qualitative measures should be part of the process?

And while we often talk about what this district or this state is doing or contemplating doing, we rarely take a holistic look at what some of the true trailblazers in evaluation are doing — what they have in common, what they are doing differently, where they are excelling, and, yes, where they are struggling.
But today, there is a new report out — Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: A Look “Under the Hood” of Teacher Evaluation — that provides such an examination.  Written by the good folks over at Public Impact and jointly commissioned by ConnCAN (where I serve as CEO) and 50CAN, Measuring Teacher Effectiveness provides that picture so many of us have been looking for.
The 10 sites include three states — Delaware, Rhode Island, and Tennessee — five large urban districts — Hillsborough County, FL; Houston, TX; New Haven, CT; Pittsburgh, PA; and Washington, DC — the Achievement First Charter Network, and the Relay Graduate School of Education.
The report provides a cross-site analysis of all 10 sites, as well as 10 detailed profiles of the teacher evaluation systems in each of the featured sites.  It pays specific attention implementation challenges faced in five areas: 1) student achievement measures; 2) classroom observations; 3) other non-academic measures; 4) accuracy, validity, and reliability; and 5) reporting and using evaluation results.
As I said in releasing the report this AM:
There are few factors as important to student success than that of an effective educator.  To ensure that every child has that effective educator, we must implement comprehensive evaluation models.  Measuring Teacher Effectiveness is an important tool in understanding what teacher evaluation leaders are doing and what components must be factored into a meaningful evaluation model.

There is no magic bullet when it comes to effective educator evaluation.  But there is also no need to reinvent the wheel.  By taking a close look at many of our evaluation trailblazers, we can see the necessary components for evaluation, the challenges our states and districts face in doing it right, and the unanswered questions we must still pursue if we are to provide all students with exemplary teachers.
Happy reading!

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