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How Might We Use Multiple Measures for Teacher Accountability?

Abstract

"The idea that multiple measures should be used when evaluating teachers is widely accepted. Multiple measures are important not only because education has multiple goals, but because each measure is an imperfect indicator of any given goal.

For a variety of reasons, states and districts use multiple measures in one particular way: to make personnel decisions about teachers based on a weighted average of the separate measures. Also known as a "composite" or index, the weighted average provides one bottom-line metric with which teachers can be placed into performance categories. The federal Race to the Top (RTTT) initiative is one reason why states and districts use the weighted average. This competitive grants program required states to hold teachers accountable in a way that made student test scores a significant factor in personnel decisions. The meaning of this term is never explained, and the most likely way to meet the vague requirement was to assign large or significant weight -- 50 percent in some cases -- to measures of student achievement growth, such as value-added."

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