Teachers contribute to student achievement. As a practice, teacher evaluation has developed over time. Today, the focus of teacher evaluation is to determine the impact of teaching on student outcomes and for use as professional development. Research on teacher evaluation has produced mixed results. This overview provides information about teacher evaluation as it relates to collecting information about teacher practice and using it to improve student outcomes. The history of teacher evaluation and current research findings and implications are included.
Cleaver, S., Detrich, R. & States, J. (2018). Overview of Teacher Evaluation. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/assessment-summative.
The CJAA funded the nation’s first statewide experiment concerning research-based programs for juvenile justice. The question here was whether they work when applied statewide in a “real world” setting. This report indicates that the answer to this question is yes— when the programs are competently delivered.
Barnoski, R., & Aos, S. (2004). Outcome evaluation of Washington State’s research-based programs for juvenile offenders. Olympia, WA: Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 460.
Research supports significant difference in the performance of teachers in the top quartile versus the bottom. Teachers working with the most challenging students are often not afforded the status that teachers working with gifted or advance placement. Students in the bottom quartile are often given the teachers who are frequently given less effective teachers along with new teachers whom research finds are less effective than experienced peers. Research finds current evaluation systems are unable to effectively assess the ability of teachers. This results in teacher not receiving feedback to enable them to improve. These measures infrequently inform teacher assignments, professional development, or career advancement. Teachers are left on their own to self-determine their own strengths and weaknesses. This paper examines how to measure teacher performance and the practices necessary for increasing teacher trust in systems designed to effectively measure performance.
Cantrell, S., & Scantlebury, J. (2011). Effective Teaching: What Is It and How Is It Measured?. Effective Teaching as a Civil Right, 28.
This study developed a zero-to-five index of the strength of accountability in 50 states based on the use of high-stakes testing to sanction and reward schools, and analyzed whether that index is related to student gains on the NAEP mathematics test in 1996–2000.
Carnoy, M., & Loeb, S. (2002). Does external accountability affect student outcomes? A cross-state analysis. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 24(4), 305-331.
This brief explores research that points to the opportunities and the challenges that evaluating teacher preparation programs differently presents.
Coggshall, J. G., Bivona, L., & Reschly, D. J. (2012). Evaluating the Effectiveness of Teacher Preparation Programs for Support and Accountability. Research & Policy Brief. National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED543773
C-SAIL was established in July 2015 as a resource on the implementation and effects of college and career readiness standards. The Center is funded through a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.
Edgerton, A. Polikoff, M., Desimone, L. (2017). How is policy affecting classroom instruction?. Evidence Speaks Reports. Volume 2, #14. The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL).
Research strongly suggests that feedback obtained through direct observations of performance can be a powerful tool for improving teacher’s skills. This study examines a peer teacher observation method used in England. The study found no evidence that Teacher Observation improved student language and math scores.
Education Endowment Foundation (2017). Teacher Observation. Education Endowment Foundation. Retrieved https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects-and-evaluation/projects/teacher-observation/.
This article discusses the current focus on using teacher observation instruments as part of new teacher evaluation systems being considered and implemented by states and districts. They argue that if these teacher observation instruments are to achieve the goal of supporting teachers in improving instructional practice, they must be subject-specific, involve content experts in the process of observation, and provide information that is both accurate and useful for teachers. They discuss the instruments themselves, raters and system design, and timing of and feedback from the observations.
Hill, H., & Grossman, P. (2013). Learning from teacher observations: Challenges and opportunities posed by new teacher evaluation systems. Harvard Educational Review, 83(2), 371-384.
Standardized testing has increasingly been used to hold educators accountable. Incentives are often offered as a way to improve student test performance. This study examines the impact incentives for students, parents and tutors on standardized test results. The researchers provided incentives on specially designed tests that measure the same skills as the official state standardized tests; however, performance on the official tests was not incentivized. This study finds substantial improvement for performance when there were incentives on the results did not generalize to the official test. This calls into question how to effectively use incentives so they will actually produce desired outcomes.
John A. List, Jeffrey A Livingston and Susanne Neckermann. “Do Students Show What They Know on Standardized Tests?” working papers (2016) Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jeffrey_livingston/19/
This paper combines information from classroom-based observations and measures of teachers' ability to improve student achievement as a step toward addressing these challenges. The results point to the promise of teacher evaluation systems that would use information from both classroom observations and student test scores to identify effective teachers.
Kane, T. J., Taylor, E. S., Tyler, J. H., & Wooten, A. L. (2011). Identifying effective classroom practices using student achievement data. Journal of human Resources, 46(3), 587-613.
This review addresses two different proposals for reforming teacher training, neither of which is grounded in research. The authors report three weak correlations between the performance of program participants and TNTP’s certification evaluation rubric. The report concludes with three self-evident aphorisms: practice improves teaching, teachers who master teaching skills do better, and inadequate performers should be weeded out.
Mathis, W. (2014). Review of Two Alternative Teacher Preparation Proposals. National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from http://greatlakescenter.org/docs/Think_Twice/TT_Mathis_TeacherPrep.pdf
This report describes how the seven Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Central states (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming) evaluate their teacher preparation programs and the changes they are making to improve their approaches to evaluation.
Meyer, S. J., Brodersen, R. M., & Linick, M. A. (2014). Approaches to Evaluating Teacher Preparation Programs in Seven States. REL 2015-044. Regional Educational Laboratory Central. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED550491
This study examines the impact of 2 forms of professional development on prekindergarten teachers' early language and literacy practice: coursework and coaching. Participating teachers (N = 148) from 6 urban cities were randomly assigned to Group 1 (coursework), Group 2 (on-site coaching), or Group 3 (control group). Pre- and postassessments examined teachers' knowledge and quality of language and literacy practices. Analyses revealed no significant improvements between groups on knowledge of early language and literacy. However, those who received coaching made statistically significant improvements in the structural environment both immediately and 5 months later. Effect sizes were substantial for coaching, while those who received coursework made no significant improvements. Analyses of the active ingredients of coaching were examined using logs and interviews to further elucidate these findings. Results indicated that coaching appears to be an effective form of professional development for early childhood educators.
Neuman, S. B., & Wright, T. S. (2010). Promoting language and literacy development for early childhood educators: A mixed-methods study of coursework and coaching. Elementary School Journal, 11,63-86. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, P.L. 107-110, 20 U.S.C. § 6319 (2002).
The Digest of Education Statistics 2015 was just released by The Institute for Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This annual publication provides a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of education from prekindergarten through graduate school. Topics include: the number of schools and colleges; teachers; enrollments; graduates; educational attainment; finances; federal funds for education; employment and income of graduates; libraries; technology; and international comparisons. It has been published annually since 1962, providing over 50 years of data with which to benchmark education performance at the system level in this country.
Snyder, T.D., de Brey, C., and Dillow, S.A. (2018). Digest of Education Statistics 2016 (NCES 2017-094). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.
The National Council on Teacher Quality works to achieve fundamental changes in the policy and practices of teacher preparation programs, school districts, state governments, and teachers unions.