The hangover: Nation's teacher evaluation binge has unintended consequences

"The recent [teacher] evaluation binge is not without risks… headlong rushes inevitably produce unintended consequences--something akin to a policy hangover as ideas move from conception to implementation." – Sara Mead, Andrew Rotherham, and Rachel Brown in "The Hangover: Thinking about Unintended Consequences of the Nation's Teacher Evaluation Binge"

In the second installment of the American Enterprise Institute's (AEI's) Teacher Quality 2.0 paper series, Sara Mead, Andrew Rotherham, and Rachel Brown of Bellwether Education assess the progress of performance-based teacher evaluations. As states continue to turn teacher evaluation practices into law, policymakers, reform advocates, and educators must be aware of the practical limits of these reforms.

Some of the key tensions and tradeoffs the authors highlight:

  • Avoid overly prescriptive policies: While there is a temptation to increase the rigor of detailed evaluation mandates, prescriptive language will limit school autonomy and stifle innovation.
  •  
  • Make room for evolution: Recognize that, as the role of the teacher changes--for instance, as technology delivers personalized instruction alongside or in place of the teacher--evaluation practices must have the flexibility to measure performance, even in non-tested subjects and in nontraditional (blended learning) classrooms.
  •  
  • Apply evaluation data broadly: Data from the evaluations should be used not only to provide feedback and help weed out underperforming teachers, but also to inform processes such as assigning teachers and students to classrooms -- a historically random practice.
  •  
  • Evaluate teachers as professionals:   Some new evaluation systems eliminate "subjective" criteria such a managerial judgment and rely on data-driven criteria only.  Evaluations in most professional fields rely on a combination of the two.
  •  

Click here to learn more about AEI's Teacher Quality 2.0 project.

You might also be interested in a just-published piece by AEI's Andrew Kelly and Rick Hess on the role of the federal government in education reform.  To read "A Federal Education Agenda," click here.

Andrew Rotherham ([email protected]) is Co-Founder and Partner at Bellwether Education Partners, where Sara Mead ([email protected]) is an Associate Partner and Rachel Brown ([email protected]) is an Associate.

For additional help, other media inquiries, or to reserve AEI's in-house TV studio or ISDN facilities, please contact:

TV Jesse Blumenthal [email protected] / 202.862.4870

Radio Michael Pratt [email protected] / 202.862.5823

Print or Web Jesse Blumenthal [email protected] / 202.862.4870, Michael Pratt at [email protected] / 202.862.5823

Follow @AEInews

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine

What's new on AEI

To secure southern border, US must lead international effort to stabilize Central America
image The Ryan pro-work, anti-poverty plan: Thomas Aquinas 1, Ayn Rand 0
image Does SNAP support work? Yes and no
image Obama Democrats lose their big bet on health exchanges
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.