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

Defeating ISIS: AEI experts weigh-in before the president’s address on Wednesday
image Degrading, defeating, and destroying the Islamic State
image Wealth Building Home Loan: Building wealth through homeownership and retirement savings
image The $3 iPhone
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 15
    MON
  • 16
    TUE
  • 17
    WED
  • 18
    THU
  • 19
    FRI
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Constitution as political theory

Please join us for the third-annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture as James Ceasar, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, explores some of the Constitution’s most significant contributions to political theory, focusing on themes that have been largely unexamined in current scholarship.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 8:10 a.m. – Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 1:30 p.m.
Third international conference on housing risk: New risk measures and their applications

We invite you to join us for this year’s international conference on housing risk — cosponsored by the Collateral Risk Network and AEI International Center on Housing Risk — which will focus on new mortgage and collateral risk measures and their applications.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Speaker of the House John Boehner on resetting America’s economic foundation

Please join us as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivers his five-point policy vision to reset America’s economy.

Event Registration is Closed
Friday, September 19, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Reforming Medicare: What does the public think?

Please join us as a panel of distinguished experts explore the implications of the report and the consumer role in shaping the future of Medicare.

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