Anticipating innovation in teacher evaluation systems: Lessons for researchers and policymakers

US Department of Education

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Executive Summary

The growing prominence of value-added models for measuring teacher effectiveness has prompted a recent surge in policies that consider students’ classroom performance part of a teacher’s evaluation. Yet, in light of the criticism and limitations of the current models, whether and how evaluation systems will adapt over time is unclear. This paper considers how teacher evaluations may likely evolve in the near future, which will have implications for state and district policy adoption.

The future shape of evaluation systems will be determined by who bears the cost of controlling the quality of the teacher workforce. Until now, teachers and students have largely born these costs. But if states and districts are serious about improving workforce quality, they must take on a greater share. Consequently, the current orientation of input- and output-based evaluations will be supplemented with more rigorous process-based evaluation. Heightened cost pressures for school leadership will likely lead to more automated, data-driven evaluation systems.

Improvements in four specific areas will particularly influence teacher evaluations moving forward:

  • Small-scale measurement;
  • Implementation issues;
  • Workforce monitoring;
  • Paradigm shifts in education research.

 

Data analysis plays a key role across all four areas, and will be the necessary precursor to improvements in public-school-teacher evaluation systems.

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