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Teacher Evaluations in an Era of Rapid Change: From "Unsatisfactory" to "Needs Improvement"

Abstract

"In "Teacher Evaluations in an Era of Rapid Change: From 'Unsatisfactory' to 'Needs Improvement'," Chad Aldeman and Carolyn Chuong examine the ongoing effort to revamp teacher evaluations. After collecting and synthesizing data from 17 states and the District of Columbia, they provide five major lessons for policymakers:
  1. Districts are starting to differentiate between poor, fair, and great educator performance, rather than treating all teachers as interchangeable widgets.
  2. Schools are using higher-quality classroom observation rubrics to provide teachers with better, timelier feedback.
  3. Despite state policy changes, many districts still dont factor student growth into teacher evaluation ratings.
  4. Districts have wide discretion even under statewide evaluation systems--meaning that evaluation systems within the same state may look very different from one another.
  5. Districts continue to ignore performance when making decisions about teacher hiring, compensation, tenure, and dismissal.
New evaluation systems are just one part of sweeping changes in American schools. Because the number and extent of these changes are daunting, some states have already started to amend or postpone their teacher evaluation systems. But the authors argue that evaluation reform is an effort worth making. Evidence from Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., and Denver suggests that comprehensive evaluation systems help teachers improve their practice, lead to improved recruitment and retention of high-quality educators, and, ultimately, boost student achievement."

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